Take off for religious reasons

Ive heard a person can legally force their employer to grant them him off for religious purposes. Is this true? For example: if one requests to be off from Friday night sundown till Saturday night (the Sabbath), does their employer have to grant it?

Isn’t this one of those “reasonable accomodation” rules?

If the guy’s job is to prepare the week-end summary of accounts payable, then not working Friday night is a deal killer. If, however, the guy can be swapped to a different job, such as preparing reports for Monday distribution, then there is a reasonable accomodation.

You can’t force the employer into an extreme or self-destructive situation.

Same with “unclean contact” rules. Various taxi drivers have tried to push this too far, as in refusing to take fares who had dogs, even service dogs. Sorry, but no: at that point, you’re violating the terms of taxi licensing, and should find another job.

We’ll all go a fair extra distance to help you fit in, but you can’t make us shut down the whole damn factory just because you want the time off.

Legally? An employment is a private agreement but I could be wrong (with respect to US laws.)

True, but there are laws guaranteeing non-discrimination and a harrassment-free workplace.

For instance, an employer couldn’t serve ham-and-cheese sandwiches – no substitutions – at a luncheon, in order to make his Jewish employees uncomfortable. Making a few other kinds of sandwiches available is a reasonable accommodation.

Labor law generally requires people make a good-faith effort to accommodate (huh, I’ve been spelling it wrong all this time.) But, as with the taxi drivers, there simply have to be some limits on the allowances that can be made.

A Los Angeles bus driver, who was vegetarian, sued because he was asked to hand out coupons that were good for hamburgers. He was in the wrong. No one can make him eat meat if he doesn’t want to…but he has no right to interpose his own values on others, and having to hand out coupons does not infringe on his rights.

But making him work on Saturday (if that is his holy day of rest) is bad, if there is any way around it at all. If there isn’t, and he simply cannot be scheduled to work the hours needed, then he needs to be moved to a desk job, and, if there is absolutely no other way to employ him, then he can be let go.

Civil rights laws aren’t a “suicide compact” to this degree. If I run a business that is only open on Saturday, and a prospective Jewish employee refuses to work Saturdays, what am I supposed to do? Hire him and pay him to do nothing?

Laws vary within the US, but the general rule that I’ve heard is that if an employer has more than 20 employees, he is expected to be flexible enough to accommodate reasonable requests.
But it gets complicated.
Here’s one specific example:
New York bus company fired a driver (7th day Adventist) who didnt want to work on Sabbath. The union rules- rigidly based on seniority- didn’t make it easy for her to change her shifts. Bus company said the union rules take priority, so they fired her. Court ruled that she get her job back)

Good luck trying to get the Jewish High Holidays off on a Coast Guard cutter, a Navy ship, or in a combat zone.

When I interviewed for Safeway (aka the worst job of my life) I was asked if I had any scheduling preferences. I told them I needed to be off either Wednesday evenings or Sunday morning for church. They said that would be fine. I never had a Wednesday or Sunday off in the year I was there. I have no idea why they even asked me?

I tell the people working for me that I can not compel them to come in on any given day, and that taking a day off is always an option. Coming back in the next day may not be. They usually get the point.

Gee, what a nice boss…
But are you aware that by saying that out loud you are probably breaking the law?

To paraphrase you: “Being a boss on any given day is always an option.
Remaining as boss the next day may not be. I hope you get the point.”

I am not a lawyer, but if I worked for you, I would hire one.
*(quote is from the link I cited in post #5. That link is just the first of many that I found with a quick google for “Sabbath observers”.

I work for a store that deals with a large Jewish customer base. We are closed during Shabbos, and open Sundays and Christmas and Easter.

Working those days is always optional. You are asked if you want to work then, and if you don’t agree, so be it. I work then, which is one reason I was hired from temporary Christmas to full time permanent work.

Hell, I’m a pagan. I can worship any time.

I’ve never worked for any boss that could not accommodate a legitimate reason for missing a day of work, be it religious, family care, bereavement, or medical. My field allows me some leeway in choosing who I work for and I’d never work for someone with that attitude. I suppose it depends on your industry but if you had that attitude in my industry all you would get for employees would be people who were unemployable elsewhere.

My wife is Jewish, and used work in an overwhelmingly Christian workplace in a field (home health) that can’t really close up shop. She was very popular, being the one who cheerfully worked on Christmas and Easter. :slight_smile:

Back when I was Mormon, in my 20s, and working in retail, managers were usually happy to let me have Sundays off…in return for working every Saturday. Everyone else worked “every other weekend,” while I worked every freaking Saturday for years. :smack:

Dude, there are more lawyers working for this company than you can shake a stick at, if that’s your idea of a good time, and it is.

We work Christmas day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, we run 24-7 355 days a year, and we work twice as hard on the days that we’re not running.

We pay very well, and if anyone has a problem with the schedule, we get fifty applicants for every opening. If Jesus, or Allah, or YHWH wants you to take a day off, you better hope you’ve got enough seniority to get it off, because if you’re on the schedule you’d better be here, or you won’t be here tomorrow.

I’ve had that experience as well. I’ve never had any trouble getting Jewish holidays off, because I don’t observe any non-Jewish holidays (since I got married, I’ve been observing Thanksgiving, because DH likes it, and I gave in, and let my son go trick-or-treating, but there was a time before I was married when I didn’t observe those holidays, or New Years-- that is, Jan. 1st). Anyway, I worked 24 hours straight on Christmas and New Year’s, sometimes Thanksgiving as well, and a lot of hours on and around Easter (except when it coincided with a seder, but it usually didn’t).

I worked supervising community living situations for disabled people, including supervising respite care workers. On the holidays, I ended up doing a lot of the respite care myself, or filling in for what we called “householders” (people who had an unrelated person with a disability living with them, for a stipend), if they wanted to go out of town. It was pretty thankless, because I was salaried, and the respite care workers were hourly, so I got no financial compensation, and the office was closed on those days; however, the office was opened on the Jewish holidays, and if I didn’t put in for time off and get it approved, I had to show up at the office. I never had any trouble getting it approved, though, because of the unpaid time I put in on Christmas, Easter and New Year’s.

This is one of those cases where quality of life matters more than money, for me.

You guys sound understaffed.

And exploited.

You’d be astonished at how many high school graduates earning $80,000 a year don’t think the way you do. Hell, some of the older ones aren’t even high school graduates. With a little overtime some of them earn $100,000. We haven’t had an employee leave voluntarily in years.

I’m happy for you that you’ve found a situation that lets you indulge your fantasy of being a hardass.

My company also pays well, is also quite successful, and manages to treat its employees like human beings with lives outside of work. I’m happy for me that I work here instead of there.

You mean like for the Feast of Maximum Occupancy?

So great, everyone gets Sunday off. Doctors, nurses, utility workers all get a day off, we shut down all the restaurants, police and fire stations, internet service providers and cable companies close, airplanes don’t fly, trains don’t run, trucks come to a grinding halt, which is just as well, because all the gas stations and truck stops are closed. The drivers could put in in a motel but it’s Sunday, and they’re all closed too. Cows don’t get fed or milked. You see where I’m going with this?

Some people have to work religious holidays. I’m happy for everyone who works for a company powered by unicorn farts in Candyland, but in reality land the Sabbath is just another workday for a lot people, and you’d have trouble maintaining society without it.