N.Y. Rights Chief Warns Employers on Denying Jobs Because of Religious Practices

The chairman of the City Commission on Human Rights warned employers today that they were violating the city law against discrimination if they denied jobs to Orthodox Jews and members of other faiths because of their religious practices. Simeon Golar said his Commission is currently investigating complaints by Orthodox Jews against several large firms. The State Human Rights Commission is also studying the job status of Sabbath observers.

Mr. Golar said that Seventh Day Adventists and members of several other faiths were also affected by job discrimination on religious grounds. But the problem was greatest among Orthodox Jews because of the approach of the Jewish High Holy Days and the change over next month from daylight saving to standard time. Mr. Golar said that Hassidic Jews in particular complained of job discrimination because of their beards and form of garb.

He said the guidelines on religious discrimination adopted by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission two years ago correspond to the spirit and letter of the city’s law against discrimination on religious grounds. The guidelines oblige an employer “to make reasonable accommodations to the religious needs of employees and prospective employees where such accommodation can be made without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.” The burden of proving “undue hardship” rests with the employer.

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