U.S. Postal Service Accused of Job Bias; Colpa Files Law Suit

The U.S. Postal Service, successor body to the U.S. Post Office, was charged yesterday in a suit filed in a federal court with unlawful discrimination which barred observant Jews from employment.

The civil suit against the public agency was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York by attorneys of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA), on behalf of a religious Jewish postal worker who was fired from his job because of his inability to work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

The action arose when the plaintiff, a new employe at the Long Island Post Office, requested that he be assigned to a tour of duty that would not require him to work on his Sabbath. According to COLPA, the postal authorities refused and cited a collective bargaining agreement that all work assignments be made in accordance with a formula based on seniority on the job. The plaintiff, thereupon, absented himself whenever he was scheduled to work at a time which was in conflict with Sabbath observance and was fired.

The complainant, represented by COLPA volunteer attorneys Sidney Kwestel and Nathan Lewin, charged that the failure to accommodate was a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunities Act of 1972.

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