Do I have a winnable employment discrimination case?

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Do I have a winnable employment discrimination case?

I work for a restaurant. I was being considered for a promotion but was turned down solely because I am unavailable to work on Sabbaths (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown); this is my religious practice. Other people have been given this promotion who do not work on Sundays. I am the most qualified person for the promotion and the only person showing interest. There are more than 15 people working at this business. I believe that they can provide a reasonable accommodation for my situation.

Asked on September 25, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You may well have a winnable case; certainly, from what you write, it would be worthwhile consulting with an employment attorney. As it seems you understand, while an employer's obligation to not discriminate on the basis of religion is not absolute, in that the employer is only required to make "reasonable accomodations"--i.e. the employer does not need to give a promotion to someone who simply cannot do the job, due to some religious considerations--if there are reasonable accomodations that would allow you to do the job, then it may discriminatory to not give you the promotion. The issue will likely  turn on the specific facts--for example, is Friday night and/or Saturday day busier than Sunday, so that not working those days is more of an issue? Is the position specifically for a manager (or whatever) for the Friday night shift? Etc. Your attorney can discuss the specifics of your situation with you. Good luck.


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