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Title VII interpretation New Jersey

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  • Title VII interpretation New Jersey

    Can anyone tell me what (A) is saying exactly?

    Title VII Flexible Work Schedule 1997

    (2) It shall not be a defense to a claim of unlawful employment practice for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation that such accommodation would be in violation of a bona fide seniority system if, in order for the employer to reasonably accommodate to such observance or practice �

    (A) an adjustment is made in the employee�s work hours (including an adjustment that requires the employee to work overtime in order to avoid working at a time that abstention from work is necessary to satisfy religious requirements), shift, or job assignment, that would not be available to any employee but for such accommodation; or

    (B) the employee and any other employee would voluntarily exchange shifts or job assignments, or voluntarily make some other arrangement between the employees.

  • #2
    Can you give a better cite to where you are in the law? This is obviously #2, what is #1 and above? That might make a difference. Is this NJ state Title VII or Federal CRA Title VII?

    need more information to help you out, but it is my general understanding that reasonable accommodation does NOT require the employer to bump other employees to accommodate nor does it require that the employer move the employee to hours that would cause OT or other negative consequences. Especially if they would not do so for another employee that is not covered for the religious reason.

    For example, say your work week is Monday - Sunday and the hourly employee usually works 40 hours and has previously worked Sunday (so only has 32 hours before Sunday starts). It is the Saturday of that week when the employee states they have a religious reason to NOT work Sunday but still want the employer to give them 8 hours elsewhere to make up for the lost shift as part of the religious accommodation. The only place the employer could accommodate is the next work week - -which could give the employee 40 hours plus 8 OT. Unless the employer would let an employee take Sunday off to go to the beach with friends and makeup the 8 hours the next week, the employer doesn't have to allow the affected employee to make up the 8 hours.
    Last edited by hr for me; 08-08-2017, 11:20 AM.


    • #3
      Thanks for the response. Perhaps an example would help. An employer rotates its Union employees within four, non-seniority shifts (M-F 7-4; M-F 10-7; Sun-Thur 7-4; M-Sat 7-4 w/1day off). The last three shifts pay various amounts of differential (premium) pay. One of the employee's is requesting a religious accommodation to be excluded from the M-Sat shift and only rotated between the remaining three (he has a religious objection to swapping his sat shift). The CBA language and company RA policy allow for "flexible scheduling" to religiously accommodate.

      Would the Federal statute apply in any way to this scenario?
      Last edited by james2ko; 08-08-2017, 12:28 PM.


      • #4
        Those laws are the minimum not the maximum that a employer or CBA could do. Therefore if an employer or CBA wanted to religiously accommodate by not requiring an employee to work that one schedule out of four, they can do so. It's just that they're not required to do so.


        • #5
          What if there was evidence of a pretext for them not wanting to do so?


          • #6
            How about you give us the actual situation instead of doling out hypotheticals piecemeal?
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


            • #7
              agree with cbg that I am trying to guess at exactly what you are trying to ask. So the employee doesn't ever want to work a Saturday due to religious reasons? I can't tell if you are trying to argue for accommodation or against it? Exactly what position are you in this scenario? The employee, HR, manager, another employee?

              But realize each situation is dependent on the details of that situation... Just because the employer (or CBA) could do more than legally required, doesn't mean they have to do so.

              Personal opinion here.....I will say that often times when someone does get an accommodation that other employees get resentful and I have to wonder if the religious convictions override the religious witness/example that employee is hoping to provide...especially if the schedules are rotated such that the employee only has to work 1 Saturday out of 4. And I am saying this as someone that you would probably describe as "religious". I've missed a few Sundays in my time and am able to find other times to worship and keep Sabbath.


              • #8
                Some people don't see it that way. Some people, and I went to church with a few, have the attitude of either they get Sundays (all day) and Wednesdays (evenings) off "or else". Or else they'll go work for someone else. The only benefit they had was they are union, thus the union would step in if the employees don't get what they want. To me it's stupid, but to each their own.
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                • #9
                  The actual rule is that the employee is to receive a minimal accommodation if possible. You do not need to give anyone an entire day, just enough time to go to church and back. And only then if it can be done without having an adverse impact on the business. Say a single person working at a gas station where shutting down the gas station is not "a reasonable accommodation".
                  "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                  Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


                  • #10
                    We would have no way of assessing what is reasonable for the employer. If you have just two employees who could work the Saturday shift and one wants to opt out, it would not be reasonable to make the other employee always work Saturday. That employee may be fine with working every Saturday, in which case, great, the employer and employee lucked out. Grant and move on.

                    If you have 100 employees who rotate around all four shifts, you would have a much harder time arguing that it isn't reasonable to have this one guy not work one shift as the burden on coworkers is negligible.

                    If you had a bonafide seniority system in your CBA that allowed employees to choose their shift based on tenure and this guy comes in new, it would not be reasonable to skip him to the head of the line to let him pick his preferred shift so as to avoid getting stuck with the Saturday shift.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.