Can I refuse to pick alcohol at the workplace outright?

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Can I refuse to pick alcohol at the workplace outright?

At work I have refused to pick alcohol in the warehouse on the basis of religion. Now due to the warehouse being rearranged so that alcohol must be picked, the company have gave me an ultimatum to work in the fresh or freezer warehouse which I’d rather not go to due to it being too cold. Can the company force me into making this decision or can I refuse going due to discrimination of me following my beliefs?

Asked on July 18, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, you can't refuse, because the employer's only obligation if you have a religious issue is to make a "reasonable accommodation": some reasonable (which is NOT the same as perfect or ideal) change in the job that lets you work despite your religious scruple. Letting you work in a different section or warehouse is a reasonable accommodation: they are taking you away from the alcohol-handling section, which is your issue. You may have to dress more warmly, but your employer has, in giving you a place to work without alcohol, has done what it is required to do.


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