Do you have a difficult employee who always has a ready excuse for? If he’s also demanding religious accommodations, don’t get sucked into litigation over alleged religious discrimination. Instead, do what you can to reasonably accommodate his religious needs while keeping the workplace focus on performance.
Recent case: Martin is Jewish and follows a Friday sundown to Saturday sundown Sabbath practice that prohibits all work and travel other than by foot during those time periods. He also insists on observing all Jewish holidays by not working.
When Martin took a job with the Associated Press (AP), he told his supervisor that he needed accommodations. At first, he was allowed to work from home every Friday so he could quit immediately at sundown and not risk having to break his religious beliefs by commuting after the Sabbath began. He also arranged to take all Jewish holidays off.
Then a new supervisor noted that Martin wasn’t completing major projects on time, that his reports were incomplete and that he frequently wasn’t available for important meetings.
As a result, the supervisor revoked blanket permission for Martin to work from home. Instead, he could work from home on alternate Fridays; otherwise, he had to arrive early so he could get home before sunset. Martin agreed.
Martin was always permitted to take religious holidays off and could switch out other holidays like Christmas for his preferred ones.
But Martin wasn’t just absent for religious holidays—he also frequently missed work for car trouble, doctors’ appointments, weddings, public transportation problems and other unexplained reasons.
In addition, it became clear as time went on that he loaded up his calendar with unavailable time blocks each time his supervisor was in town and might want to schedule a meeting.
After countless warnings about his poor performance, Martin was terminated. He sued, arguing that the real reason behind his discharge was religious bias.
He claimed that supervisors had loaded him up with work before religious holidays in an attempt to make him look like a poor performer when he was merely trying to get assignments done before the religious holidays.
The court tossed out his lawsuit. It said the AP did everything it was required to do by offering reasonable accommodations. Plus, it looked as if all the criticism Martin endured had to do with work quality and absences unrelated his religion, not his need to take time off for religious observance. (Yoselovsky v. The Associated Press, No. 10-CIV-9438, SD NY, 2013)
Final note: Martin tried another long shot, too. Since he was new at the AP, he didn’t yet have anyto show what a good worker he really was. Instead, he introduced past performance reviews from his previous employer. The court said that unless these were for the same job duties, they weren’t relevant at all.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/34553/counter-religious-discrimination-claim-by-showing-focus-on-accommodation-job-performance "