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No need to accommodate those who want to work overtime

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

You're required to reasonably accommodate employees when their religious practices conflict with their job requirements. But what if an employee asks for an accommodation just so he can work overtime? Must you grant that accommodation?

No. As the following case shows, you're not required to accommodate employees' religious needs that would allow them to work overtime. Your only requirement is to offer accommodations that apply to mandatory work times, not voluntary overtime situations.

Recent case: Gregory Fox told his employer that religious beliefs prevented him from working on his Sabbath. Several discussions and an EEOC charge later, Fox and the employer agreed on an accommodation by adjusting his weekend working hours to fall outside the Sabbath time frame.

That accommodation worked until Fox asked to work overtime to earn extra money. Then, he asked the company to not only accommodate him for those weekends when work was mandatory, but also those weekends in which overtime work was voluntary.

The company refused and Fox sued, claiming religious discrimination. He lost his case.

Reason: The company wasn't forcing Fox to choose between his religious convictions and the requirements of the job. As long as Fox was allowed to decline the voluntary weekend overtime work without penalty, no further accommodation by the company was necessary. (Fox v. Lear Corp., No. 1:03-cv-00599-TAB-DFH, S.D.Ind., 2004)

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