Can My Employer Deny Me Permission to Take Off for a Religious Holiday?

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If you request a religious holiday off and your employer tells you that you still have to work, are you being discriminated against? Does your employer absolutely have to give you that day off? An experienced Chesterfield County religious discrimination attorney can help you learn more about what your employer’s obligations are. If they are violating your rights and discriminating against you, we can help you hold them accountable.

Are There Federal Laws About Religious Holidays?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically forbids an employer from discriminating based on religion. Expressly denying you the day off for a religious holiday will be grounds for a complaint in certain situations.

The law also recognizes that an employer is trying to run a business though. Because of that, getting time off for a religious holiday is not something you can expect every time, and discrimination is not necessarily the reason why.

How Can an Employer Deny Time Off For a Religious Holiday?

An employer cannot discriminate against you based on religion, so that means that they do have to try their best to accommodate you when you request time off for religious reasons. However, an employer might not always be able to give a worker the time off they ask for.

In situations like these, an employer might say that giving you or another employee time off for a religious holiday presents an “undue hardship” for the company. This can mean that losing that particular employee that day will:

  • Cause a workplace safety issue
  • Result in a workplace that cannot operate as it should
  • Create a security problem
  • Infringe on the rights of other employees
  • Conflict with an existing system of seniority and benefits

So in these scenarios, an employer will say that they are not discriminating against you. They are just doing their best to keep a workplace running smoothly and safely, and you taking this time off would make that difficult or impossible.

What Accommodations Can an Employer Make?

When an employer argues that responding to your request would create an undue hardship, they should still do their best to make it possible for you to get this time off in another way. They could allow voluntary shift switching among employees, for example. If someone who has that day off is willing to swap shifts with you to accommodate your religious holiday, the employer should allow that.

An employer that does not even try to give workers the chance to take off time for a religious holiday could be violating federal law. If you speak to our employment attorney, we can help you figure out if you have a case.

Contact Our Law Firm For More Information

Do you still have questions about religious discrimination in the workplace? Then contact Passero Employment Law and set up an appointment. We can look at your particular situation and determine whether or not your employer may be in violation of the law. Then we can help you fight back.

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