Best Ohio Religious Discrimination Attorney Answer: Does my employer have to give me time off for a religious holiday? My job scheduled me to work a shift on Easter. Can they do that? I’m Muslim and have been told that I can’t take time off to celebrate Eid al-Adha. Is that allowed?
As religious discrimination attorneys, we fight for the simple proposition that no one should be forced to choose between honoring their religious beliefs and being employed. As we have previously blogged about religious discrimination, both federal and Ohio law protect employees from being discriminated against in the workplace because of their religions. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.02 each expressly prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s religion. These legal protections apply at all stages of the employment process, from hiring to firing. Unless doing so would create an undue hardship, an employer must attempt to reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious belief. (See How Do I Get A Religious Accommodation At Work? Top Attorney Reply). Additionally, bosses, managers, and supervisors cannot push their religious beliefs on employees. (See Religious Discrimination: Employers Don’t Talk To God).
Examples of reasonable accommodations in the context of religious discrimination can include exceptions to dress requirements; grooming codes; job reassignments; and flexible or modified schedules. (see Can I Be Denied A Job Because I Won’t Cut My Hair On Religious Grounds? I Need A Lawyer!). Importantly, employers cannot retaliate against employees for seeking a religious accommodation or opposing religious discrimination. (See Can I Oppose My Employer’s Policy Based On My Religious Beliefs? Best Lawyer Reply!). It was this an accommodation issue that recently put Food Lion in the EEOC’s crosshairs and ultimately landed the supermarket giant in federal court.
A recent employment discrimination law suit filed against Food Lion alleges that the company ran afoul of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in denying the requested reasonable accommodation of a North Carolina employee. The complaint states that Victaurius Bailey, a Jehovah’s Witness elder and minister, requested that he not be scheduled to work on Thursday evenings or Sundays. Bailey’s religious obligations necessitate that he take part in church services and meetings during those times.
The United States Supreme Court has heard oral arguments and employment law lawyers everywhere are waiting on it to decide whether an employee must explicitly request a reasonable religious accommodation, or whether an employer’s knowledge or belief that such an accommodation is needed is enough to trigger an employer’s duties. (Can My Boss Tell Me Not To Wear Religious Articles Of Clothing At Work? Best Lawyer Update).
In this case there is no question as to whether Food Lion was on notice. Bailey specifically asked for a modified schedule, and told the hiring manager why he needed it, when he was hired to work at Food Lion location in Winstons-Salem. The manager who hired Bailey was receptive and honored the request. However, when Bailey was transferred to another Food Lion location, in Kernersville, North Carolina, his new store manager informed him that Sunday shifts were mandatory. According to the EEOC, Food Lion terminated because he was “not available to work on Sundays.”
Our attorneys often encounter this type is a problem on an employee transfer that and it is a big problem for employers for several reasons. First, it is clear that the employer is already on notice of the problem evidence by the past accommodation. Second, that past accommodation also provides almost irrefutable evidence that the religious accommodation is both reasonable and not unduly burdensome on the employer. Stated another way, the employer cannot argue the accommodation is too difficult to do because the employer has already done it. So, the only difference is that on boss or manager acted appropriately, but when a different manager enters the situation, he or she refuses the accommodation. The employer becomes liable for the wrongful acts and violation of Title VII by the new manager. It will be interesting to see what defense, if any, the employer offers up. We will follow and report back.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, seeks back pay, future lost wages, as well as punitive damages.
If you feel that you are being discriminated or harassed based on your religion or religious beliefs or that you were wrongfully terminated because of you are Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu or any other religion, the best course of action you can take is to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a religious discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
The materials available at the top of this religious discrimination blog and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “How do I …”, “What should I do …,” “Can my boss discriminate against me because I’m (Jewish/Muslim/Mormon/Hindu)?” or “I was fired for my religious beliefs. The answer to “What can I do?”, is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular religious discrimination or other employment law issue or problem. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.