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N.Y. Rights Unit Accepts U.S. Job Guidelines for Sabbath Observers

June 7, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs hailed today a “precedent-setting” ruling by the New York State Commission for Human Rights that employers in the state must make reasonable accommodations to the religious needs of prospective employes who are Sabbath observers.

The ruling was made by Human Rights Commission chairman Robert J. Mangum in a case brought by Bernard Rubin of Brooklyn, a computer programmer, who was denied employment by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. because he would have to leave work early on Friday afternoons during the winter to be home before sunset, the start of the Jewish Sabbath. In the ruling Mangum held that employers should follow Federal guidelines but held that employment of Rubin would impose undue hardship on the insurance company because of the nature of computer scheduling work.

In a second Sabbath observer case brought against the insurance firm by Rochelle Sachs of The Bronx, N.Y., Commissioner Francis Giaccone held that refusal to hire a secretary on a full-time basis because of such Sabbath needs constituted “probable cause to credit the allegations of the complaint.” Giaccone based his findings on the principles of the Rubin case, according to Dr. Marvin Schick. president of the Jewish group, which represented both complainants in their suits.

Dr. Schick said that, in effect, Mangum adopted the “Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Religion” promulgated in July, 1967 by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which provide that non-discrimination by employers on religious grounds includes an employer obligation to “make reasonable accommodation” to the religious needs of employes, if they do not involve “undue hardship” for the employer, which the employer must prove. The Rubin and Sachs rulings were handed down last Friday.

Dr. Schick said his organization would appeal to the state commission for re-opening of the Rubin case and would submit affidavits from many firms which employ computer operators who are Sabbath observers. The case has been before the state commission for several years and rejected previously by the commission but not previously on the basis of the Federal guidelines. Howard Rhine, a New York attorney who represented the Jewish organization before the state commission, said four other complaints were now before the commission and one is before the Federal commission.

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