Can I refuse to pick alcohol at the workplace outright?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years 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.

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 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.

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