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Rabbis Seek Revision of Federal Guidelines on Religious Discrimination

August 18, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Federal Government guidelines regarding religious discrimination by employers have been worded in such a manner that they, in effect, discriminate against Orthodox Jews or members of other minority religious groups, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was informed officially today by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada.

Ten rabbinical leaders who are members of the organization clarified the stand of Jewish religious leaders to Dr. Luther Holcomb, chairman of the Commission. The guidelines for employers regarding religious discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were issued by the Commission on June 14. Under those regulations, an employer is free to establish a normal work week which is generally acceptable to all his employes. Provisions in the guidelines permit an employer to:

1) Close his business on the religious holiday of the majority of his employes, without affording the minority an equivalent right to enjoy its religious holidays; 2) discharge or refuse to hire an employee whose religious observance conflicts with “foreseeable overtime requirements”; and 3) discharge individuals who have been employed if their altered work schedules cannot be accommodated to their religious observances without serious difficulty.

The rabbis requested Dr. Holcomb to revise the guidelines in such a way that Sabbath observers might be permitted to observe their day of rest on Saturdays without facing dismissal.

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