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TexasPossible Religiuos Decrimination

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  • TexasPossible Religiuos Decrimination

    My department just completed a shift bid and as a result, my new shift will require me to work on the Sabbath(sunset Fri - sunset Sat). I have a coworker with the same conflict, however his Sabbath is Sunday. My co-worker's schedule was changed so he/she could have Sundays off. In my case however, my schedule was not changed and I was told I have to use my paid time off to cover my time away from work on my Sabbath. Can my job do this?

  • #2
    Can my job do this? Yes. Your employer only has to consider reasonable accommodations for your religious beliefs and that's actually a fairly low threshold. Sounds like you and your co-workers all had a chance to bid on your preferred shifts and your not getting the schedule you wanted is just the way the cookie crumbled.

    Your employer isn't obligated to force someone to work Friday evenings and Saturdays to cover for you nor do they have to incurr additional payroll costs (i.e hire another person or pay OT to someone.) I don't have all the facts as to how your shift bidding and scheduling works but a reasonable accommodation might well be to allow you to see if anyone is willing to volunteer to swap scheduled with you so you can have Friday evenings and Saturdays off (provided it doesn't result in additional costs to the employer, such as paying an OT rate to someone.)

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    • #3
      It sounds like your employer will allow you the time off but that you have to charge the time off to "paid time off." Yes, that would be legal. (minus a binding employment contract to the contrary)
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Beth3 View Post
        Can my job do this? Yes. Your employer only has to consider reasonable accommodations for your religious beliefs and that's actually a fairly low threshold. Sounds like you and your co-workers all had a chance to bid on your preferred shifts and your not getting the schedule you wanted is just the way the cookie crumbled.

        Your employer isn't obligated to force someone to work Friday evenings and Saturdays to cover for you nor do they have to incurr additional payroll costs (i.e hire another person or pay OT to someone.) I don't have all the facts as to how your shift bidding and scheduling works but a reasonable accommodation might well be to allow you to see if anyone is willing to volunteer to swap scheduled with you so you can have Friday evenings and Saturdays off (provided it doesn't result in additional costs to the employer, such as paying an OT rate to someone.)
        I do understand about not getting the shift I want; I have been thru many shift bids before this. But what I don't understand is how can in one instance a coworker who was scheduled to work on his/her sabbath - being Sunday - get a schedule change, but in my instance I have to keep my same shift and use my vacation time to observe my sabbath. Don't the accomodations have to be the same across the board?

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        • #5
          Don't the accomodations have to be the same across the board?

          No. Perhaps this empoyee has more seniority than you (or is in a higher level position) and that's why he or she is being accommodated. Or perhaps this other employee spoke up first about the need for a religions accommodation and now, having accommodated him/her, they aren't in a position to accommodate anyone else at present.

          No laws require employers to accommodate everyone making a request or to do so in the same manner. The law only requires employers to consider making accommodations and do so if a reasonable one can be found.

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          • #6
            No, apparently your request to have a schedule change was not a reasonable accommodation.

            They are allowing you the time off it seems but require you to charge the time to "paid time off" which is not illegal.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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            • #7
              Talk with an attorney and/or an EEOC representative.

              There may be legitimate reasons why your employer accommodated your coworker with the Sunday Sabbath but will not similarly accommodate you with the Friday-Saturday Sabbath. However, the reason for the distinction may not be legitimate. It is unclear what purported “undue burden” did your employer face that prevented it from allowing you to have Friday-Saturday Sabbath off.

              By presenting all of the facts directly to an attorney or an EEO specialist, he or she can provide you with a more informed assessment as to whether you have a potential claim for denial of religious accommodation.

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              • #8
                I was told I have to use my paid time off to cover my time away from work on my Sabbath.
                The fact that they would allow you to take the day off using your paid time off tells me that it's not a hardship for them to replace you for that day. I'd run it by the EEOC.
                I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

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                • #9
                  However, it could be a hardship to allow the OP off & have to pay someone else OT possibly (for example) to cover for them.

                  We don't have all the facts.
                  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                  Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=Betty3;1175166]However, it could be a hardship to allow the OP off & have to pay someone else OT possibly (for example) to cover for them.

                    All the facts haven't been disclosed, and the more I dig into this situation, the more I believe I will need to go to the EEOC. That being said, I have one final question. What would be the difference in 'hardship' for my company to allow me to take off Sabbath using paid time off and I not be there for my shift and making the decision to change my days off to accommodate my Sabbath? Either way I would not be working during that time.

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                    • #11
                      We can't speak for your employer; we know nothing about their business and staffing requirements. I can tell you that allowing you to use paid time off to take off for your Sabbath IS a reasonable accommodation however.

                      Comment

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