NEW YORK (Jun. 29)
The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) announced today it would represent an Orthodox Jew who charges that he was forced to resign as a Transit Authority bus driver-trainee because he refused to work on Saturdays and on Shavuot. The employe, whose name was not disclosed, has filed a complaint with the New York State Division on Human Rights, which will hold a hearing July 7. The complaint asserts that the employe was “denied equal terms and conditions… because of my religious observance,” in violation of state law.
The law permits Sabbath observance by employes except when hardship to the employer would result. The TA has maintained that it is exempt from the law because it is engaged in an essential service for which employees must always be ready to work. Howard Rhine, president of COLPA, said: “This is not the first time that an incident of this nature involving the New York City Transit Authority has occurred and we have determined to make it the last. It is incredible that at a time when private employers are increasingly recognizing their responsibilities and are making the required accommodations to one of the basic needs of their employees, a public agency should continually refuse to comply with the law.”