NEW YORK (Jun. 13)
The New York State Division of Human Rights has ruled that the New York City Transit Authority may not deny employment to an observant Jew even if the conditions of such employment violate the TA’s collective bargaining agreements. Commissioner Jack M.Sable of the Human Rights Division found the Transit Authority guilty of discrimination in dismissing a Jew who would not work on Friday evenings or Saturdays for religious reasons.
The complainant was represented in the proceedings by Howard Zuckerman, secretary and Dennis Rapps, executive director of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA). Sect. 296 (10) of the NY State Executive Law requires employers to make accommodations for the religious needs of employes.
The Transit Authority, which will appeal the ruling, said it could not make accommodations in this case because of the seniority provisions of its collective bargaining agreement with its unions in all Job assignments. Since the TA operates 24 hours” a day, seven days a week and Friday evenings and Saturdays are periods in which most senior employes do not choose to work, observant Jews were generally foreclosed. from employment in operating positions, COLPA said. Commissioner Sable has ordered reinstatement of the complainant with all back pay in the form of damages.