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Resigning for newfound faith doesn’t justify unemployment compensation

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

New York employees who quit their jobs for good cause are generally eligible for unemployment compensation payments. But does a newfound faith requiring no Sunday work justify quitting? Not if the employee took the original job knowing Sunday work was required.

Recent case: Alisandra Arias worked as a resident supervisor at a halfway house for about 16 months until she quit over a scheduling dispute. Her normal schedule included working on Sundays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Then Arias became very active in her church and asked for Sundays off. Her request was denied, so she quit. Arias then asked for unemployment compensation.

The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board ruled she was disqualified because she left her job without good cause. Arias appealed.

The court tossed out her appeal. It ruled that “dissatisfaction with one’s schedule does not constitute good cause for leaving one’s employment.” (In the Matter of Arias v. Commissioner of Labor, No. 501195, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, 2007)

Final note: Don’t forget that both Title VII and the New York State Executive Law protect employees from discrimination based on religion. You may be required to allow time off to worship as a reasonable accommodation. But if a reasonable accommodation isn’t possible, quitting doesn’t equal unemployment compensation payments.  

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