Observant Jews Win Job Rights

The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) said today the successful resolution of three cases involving observant Jews who were deprived of their jobs because they were unavailable for work on the Sabbath has been reached. In each case the plaintiff was ordered re-instated with back pay where applicable, according to COLPA president Sidney Kwestel.

In one case, which Kwestel described as the first of its kind involving the New York City Transit Authority, a bus driver was offered a job by the TA from which the driver claimed he was forced to resign in 1972 because he was required to be available for work on the Sabbath and religious holidays. A ruling in favor of the plaintiff by the New York State Human Rights Commission was upheld, on appeal, by the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Kwestel said.

In the other cases, the U.S. Civil Service Commission ordered reinstatement and back pay for a woman who was discharged from her position as a nurse at the John F. Kennedy Airport Mail Facility of the U.S. Postal Service, and for a man who was fired from his clerical job at the Jamaica General Post Office, in both cases because the employes refused to work on the Sabbath. All of the complainants were represented by COLPA attorneys, Kwestel said.

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