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How Discrimination Affects Requested Time off for the Holidays

Nov. 8, 2018

In this dynamic business environment, workplaces have employees that come from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. However, a diverse environment comes up with its own challenges, a primary one of which is ensuring that employees do not feel discriminated. This can be particularly a problem when it comes to religious holidays.

It is reasonable for employees to expect that their company understands their commitments pertaining to religious activities. Consequently, they assume that they will be granted leaves to observe religious holidays. However, in many cases, employers do not allow employees to take leaves for their religious activities. This may potentially put their business at risk for an employment discrimination lawsuit.

How Discrimination Affects Requested Time off for the Holidays

There is no particular federal or state law that dictates that an employer has to provide holidays to their employees for religious activities; however, the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers to show bias or prejudice towards their employees due to their religious affiliations. Moreover, employer cannot force an employee to participate or not to participate in their respective religious activities.

Under Title VII, employers owe a duty to their employees to accommodate their requests related to religious adherence, for instance taking a few days off to observe a religious holiday. However, the leaves must not result in an undue hardship for the employer. Signs of undue hardship include, but not limited to:

  • Additional costs related to their job

  • Compromise on workplace safety

  • Reduction in efficiency at workplace

  • Infringement of rights of other employees

  • Putting other employees at risk by burdening them with their share of potentially hazardous work

However, if an employer cannot demonstrate that the company may face undue hardship due to aforementioned reasons or any other reason, then employees are rightfully entitled to reasonable accommodation for time off for observing their religious activities. Period of time off may vary and depend upon circumstances, but should allow sufficient time for an employee to fulfill their religious obligations.

Furthermore, if employees belonging from certain religious affiliations may receive time off for their religious activities and employees from others religious backgrounds are denied, then it demonstrates prejudice and partiality, leaving the employer exposed to potential litigation.

In addition to that, discrimination can also take place on the basis of gender, race, color, or national origin. For instance, a female worker may be denied off days for the holidays to spend extra time with her children due to her gender, or perhaps due to maternity leaves that she took last year.

Nevertheless, if you are denied time off for the holidays and you believe that you are being discriminated, then you can file a claim against your employer by acquiring services of an experienced employment discrimination lawyer. An attorney will ensure that your rights remain protected and your employer cannot act with impunity against you.

A seasoned employment discrimination lawyer is well versed with federal laws, such as Title VII, Equal Pay Act, among other discrimination laws, which may be applicable to your case allowing them to devise a strong case in your favor. Using their proficiency and knowledge related to law, an employment discrimination lawyer will help you to get justice and perhaps off days that you are rightfully entitled to obtain.

If you want to know more about this subject or want to schedule a free consultation with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer, it is highly recommended for you to contact the Law Office of Michael Smith.