State Orders Bank to Reinstate Woman Dismissed for Taking Time off for Passover; ADL Hails Order

The New York State Division of Human Rights has ordered reinstatement, back pay and damages to a Jewish woman dismissed by the Franklin National Bank in Westbury, N.Y. for taking time off for Passover. The decision was hailed today by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, whose Long Island office submitted the case to Jack M. Sable, State Commissioner of Human Rights, after the woman, Mrs. Helen Haberman of Plainview, asked for help.

After a public hearing, Sable held that the bank had discriminated against Mrs. Haberman in violation of the state’s Human Rights Law. He directed the bank to offer Mrs. Haberman reemployment in an appropriate category, and to pay her back pay from the date of her dismissal April 2, 1971, to the date of the re-employment offer, including any increases she would have earned had she not been fired, and $500 compensatory damages. Sable also directed the bank to review its practices on the religious needs of its employes consistent with his order and to provide his division and each employee with a copy of its regulations.

Mrs. Haberman asked, several weeks before the holiday, for the 1971 Passover eve off, offering to take the time as a paid holiday, or a paid day from annual leave or as an unpaid holiday. She was told she would be fired if she took the time off did so and was told the next day of her dismissal. The bank routinely gives one day off with pay for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with pay if those days come during the regular work week. Many Jewish employes get Passover off as a holiday when it is not on a Friday. Mrs. Haberman absented herself on a Friday.

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