Hennepin County driver files religious accommodation suit — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Hennepin County driver files religious accommodation suit

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The tension between an employee’s right to religious accommodation and an employer’s need to get work done is at the heart of a case being heard in Hennepin County.

Yabesh Maroko, a Seventh-day Adventist, was hired by Omaha, Neb.-based Werner Enterprises to drive a truck out of the company’s Hennepin County facility. Maroko maintains he told his employer from the beginning that his faith prevented him from working between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday, the Adventists’ Sabbath.

The company enrolled Maroko in a three-month training program and he completed it. Apparently, the training program’s hours never conflicted with his Sabbath observation.

That all changed once he started work. A week after being assigned a truck, he refused to work during his Sabbath. Werner fired him.

Maroko filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which issued a right-to-sue letter. Then he filed charges in Hennepin County District Court alleging Werner failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.

Unless the company settles, the case will go to trial.

Note: Never dismiss an accommodation request immediately. You may refuse an accommodation only if you can demonstrate it would constitute an undue hardship. That means you had better be able to show the cost—in precise dollars and cents—when you go to court.

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