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Suit Seeks to Compel Metropolitan Life to Hire Sabbath-observer

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An Orthodox Jewish organization said today it had filed suit against the New York State Human Rights Commission to force it to accept a complaint that the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company refused to hire a Sabbath-observing Jew.

The suit naming the insurance company as co-defendant was filed by the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs after the state agency twice rejected the complaint on procedural grounds, according to Dr. Marvin Schick, president of the Jewish group. Dr. Schick said that the insurance company, one of the largest in the United States, had not denied the substance of the complaint.

The applicant for the job, Bernard Rubin, a computer programmer, asserted he had been offered a position after completing a series of examinations. He had then informed the Metropolitan Life interviewer that he would not work on the Jewish Sabbath because he was an Orthodox Jew and that, for the same reason, he would have to leave earlier on Fridays during the winter months because of the earlier sundown. Mr. Rubin said he was then informed that the company could not alter its schedule to accommodate him and it refused him the position.

A complaint was filed with the Human Rights Commission in 1965 and was rejected. In 1966, the complainant asked for a review of the rejection and again was turned down. Dr. Schick, in announcing the new suit, said that the Commission had said, in announcing its refusal to consider the Rubin complaint, that under existing law, it could do little to stop discrimination against Sabbath observers. He added that, under new guidelines announced last week by the Federal Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, commercial firms were required to hire such applicants unless they could prove that use of such personnel would do substantial harm to their enterprises. Dr. Schick said that the suit was filed in the hope that this ruling would apply to the Rubin complaint.

A Metropolitan spokesman pointed out that the proceeding was not a suit against the company but an action under civil practice law to compel the Commission to take action. Dr. Schick said the suit had been filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

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