EEOC sues Florida Jewish nursing home

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against a Florida Jewish nursing home for firing a Seventh-day Adventist staffer who did not want to work on her Sabbath.

Menorah House in Boca Raton "denied a religious accommodation to Philomene Augustin and fired her because of her religious beliefs," the EEOC said in a statement Tuesday. The firing violated religious protections in the federal Civil Rights Act that require "reasonable accommodation" of religious beliefs, "so long as this does not pose an undue hardship," the EEOC said.

According to the EEOC, Augustin worked at Menorah House as a certified nursing assistant. The nursing home had accommodated her request not to work on the Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, for more than 10 years until management instituted a new policy requiring all employees to work on Saturdays, regardless of their religious beliefs.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit, the statement said, only after its conciliation process failed. Menorah House, which is privately owned, is situated next to the Jewish community campus.

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