Agency Finds for Employee Dismissed for Quitting Early to Observe Sabbath

A telephone receptionist fired because she wanted to observe Orthodox Jewish ritual on Friday evenings has been awarded $800 compensation and offered job reinstatement following action by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The name of the woman and the identity of her employer were not disclosed because of Federal law governing operation of the commission.

The woman claimed that she was fired because she left work on a Friday afternoon to reach home in time to observe the Sabbath. The employer contended that other Jews employed by the same company made no such request for early dismissal and that she was disrupting work by creating a Jewish issue. An investigation by the commission disclosed that the complainant had offered to make up the lost time by working on vacation and lunch hour periods. The commission found that there was “no showing that accommodation to the reasonable religious needs of the charging party would have resulted in undue hardship on the conduct of the respondent’s business.” The telephone receptionist accepted the cash compensation but declined reinstatement because she was now employed elsewhere.

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