If I have a reasonable accommodation approved to observe my sabbath and my religious holidays can they take that away?

I have an accommodation from my employer to observe my sabbath and my religious holidays. I work all other days and sometimes I put in hours after my sabbath ends. I am salaried manager. I am just curious to know if they take it away is that legal as they are threatening to take it away.

Asked on March 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is likely not legal, since employers are expected to make reasonable accomodations for religion. There are circumstances under which it could be legal, however, if the employer's own circumstances have changed so that they definitely need to you work on your sabbath; therefore, it would no longer be a "reasonable" accomodation to not work that day. For example: say an orthodox Jew is employed by a retail store. He does not work Friday afternoon and Saturday. However, due to a change in the economy, market, or customer base, the store, which formerly was open on Sundays (when our employee worked a shift to make up for  not working on his sabbath), is now closed on Sunday but has longer Saturday hours. Under those circumstances, it may be unreasonable to have an employee not work on Saturday, and the employee also may not be able to work enough hours to justify his full-time salary since Sunday is no longer available.

So the short answer is, there is a good chance that what you describe is illegal, due to the obligation to make reasonable accomodations, but you have to look at the circumstances--a change in circumstances can make what was formerly reasonable unreasonable.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.