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Agudath Israel, Colpa Praise Bill Prohibiting Discrimination Against Sabbath Observers

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Agudath Israel of America and the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) praised the State Legislature today for its passage of a bill prohibiting discrimination against Jewish Sabbath observers employed by private concerns. The Senate, echoing last week’s action by the Assembly, approved the bill today. Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, who endorsed the bill, is expected to sign it this week. Under it, a private employer may not release an employe who must leave early on Fridays or on the eves of Jewish holidays, nor may he refuse employment to an applicant who must follow that schedule–unless the employer can prove that the absences will adversely affect his business. Ample traveling time is also guaranteed. A similar bill, passed four years ago, applied to public employes. Rabbi Moshe Sherer, executive president of Agudath Israel, called the new bill “a historic breakthrough in the field of legislation affecting Jewish rights.” He praised Rockefeller and the Governor’s staff for “the sensitivity that they displayed to the needs of the religious Jewish community by tirelessly shepherding this landmark Sabbath bill through the labyrinth of the state legislative bodies.” Rabbi Sherer also praised COLPA, which helped in the drafting of the Agudath Israel-sponsored measure. Julius Berman, COLPA president, said: “This legislative action is the culmination of a long legal and legislative effort to eliminate discrimination against Sabbath observers in employment. We are confident that this bill, when signed into law, will provide equal employment opportunities to Sabbath observers.”

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