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Lds Manager Wins Religious Discrimination Suit Against Walmart


Buzzard

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Stumbled across this article. Good for that guy, but he's probably the last LDS management employee that Wal-Mart will hire without a specific agreement in advance to work Sundays. And knowing the way corporations work these days, they will wait a year and then find another reason to let him go. An old boss of mine once remarked that if he wanted to fire someone, he could find a legitimate reason to do so, and usually within a day or so, no matter who they were or what their job performance was.

http://thejobmouse.com/2012/06/05/walmart-to-pay-70000-for-threatening-to-fire-mormon-worker-because-of-his-observation-of-the-sabbath/

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I disagree with this suite. If he doesn't like working on Sundays, he should have gotten a job elsewhere. If I had to accommodate the religions believes of my employees I would go out of business or at least be forced to discriminate during the hiring process. He said on his application that he would not work Sundays. His employee contract did accommodate this exclusion.

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If I had to accommodate the religions believes of my employees I would go out of business or at least be forced to discriminate during the hiring process.

If? So long as you have more than 15 employees, you're covered by Title VII, which means you have a legal obligation to provide such reasonable accommodations. Of course, a key word here is "reasonable."

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An old boss of mine once remarked that if he wanted to fire someone, he could find a legitimate reason to do so, and usually within a day or so, no matter who they were or what their job performance was.

As a labor and employment lawyer that exclusively represents management, I'd say you're old boss's belief that he can do that is extremely risky. But he sounds like the kind of guy I'd love to have as a client.

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If? So long as you have more than 15 employees, you're covered by Title VII, which means you have a legal obligation to provide such reasonable accommodations. Of course, a key word here is "reasonable."

Freedom, if you did not notice from his avatar, is Canadian, so Title VII does not affect him. I don't know if Canada has a similar law, though.

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If? So long as you have more than 15 employees, you're covered by Title VII, which means you have a legal obligation to provide such reasonable accommodations. Of course, a key word here is "reasonable."

If your work environment requires working on the Sabbath and exclusion from working on the Sabbath is not addressed in the contract then this would not apply. If your religious beliefs prevent you from killing animals and you go to work at a meet packing plant, you would not be justified. If you are opposed to gambling, don't work in a casino. All legal protections aside, this man could have found work elsewhere. As a member of the church there an abundance of resources available to upgrade his skills. I accommodate employees with religious observances in that i do not fire them if they attend a celebration with notice. They use their holiday time or work on a stat holiday in place of their specific religious holiday. I do not think it is reasonable to give a person a day off every week.

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Freedom, if you did not notice from his avatar, is Canadian, so Title VII does not affect him. I don't know if Canada has a similar law, though.

I have found the Canadian labour code to be significantly stronger than any jurisdiction I have dealt with in the U.S. We are governed by both labor code as well as the human rights code which prevents discrimination on the bases of age, gender, religion, nationality, culture and sexual orientation. If I have a lingerie store whose biggest sales day is Saturday, however, you can be certain that I will not be called to the carpet for not hiring a practicing male Jew. If a male Jew takes me to court for not hiring him he would not get very far. The difference between Canada and the U.S. is that, up here if you bring a frivolous suite, you are responsible for all costs when you loose. In the U.S. you can take anybody to court for any reason and never suffer any consequences if you are a fraud.

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Gosh Freedom... what do you mean, talking common sense... ;)

I too believe that a prospective employee should not apply to a company with employees rotating on Sundays, etc., if one does not want to work on Sunday..

That being said... that doesn't seem to stop some people of varying faiths from demanding certain accommodations, like time to worship numerous times a day, or special facilities, or removing certain pictures/icons that they find "offensive." And we seem to just put up with it... but people in my ward who have to work on Sundays were just told "that's too bad." (This is a small, resort town with limited employment opportunities). Employers cater to the tourists, particularly on weekends. That's their requirement for ALL employees. Truth: I suppose if I were a business owner and had an inkling that an applicant was of a particular faith that required special accomodations above the rest of the employees, I'd just not hire that person and hope I could justify it if questioned.

GG

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If your work environment requires working on the Sabbath and exclusion from working on the Sabbath is not addressed in the contract then this would not apply. If your religious beliefs prevent you from killing animals and you go to work at a meet packing plant, you would not be justified. If you are opposed to gambling, don't work in a casino. All legal protections aside, this man could have found work elsewhere. As a member of the church there an abundance of resources available to upgrade his skills. I accommodate employees with religious observances in that i do not fire them if they attend a celebration with notice. They use their holiday time or work on a stat holiday in place of their specific religious holiday. I do not think it is reasonable to give a person a day off every week.

In some respect I agree with you. If an employee accepts a position knowing Sunday work will be required then he/she should be bound by their employment agreement. Reasonable attempts to find someone who doesn't care about Sunday work should be made.

However, this does not seem to be the case here. Wal-Mart had agreed to his not being scheduled for Sunday work and for some time had honored that employment contract. That they(Wal-Mart) decided to unilaterally change the conditions of employment and ignore former agreements puts them in the wrong.

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My understanding is that there was no agreement that he did not have to work on Sundays; rather he put on his initial application that he did not want to work on Sundays. It was not a change of policy but rather a change in scheduling. The change was made to accommodate more workers and make the distribution of days off more fair. They did not suddenly change their enforcement, in fact, enforcement never changed; it just never affected this employee before. He was allowed to swap Sunday shifts without consequence so, from my perspective, they were being accommodating. If I worked in retail, I would consider myself lucky to have avoided Sunday scheduling for so many years. Scheduling workers at a large store like Walmart is a nightmare. There are innumerable accommodations a manager has to make. In today's job climate, an unskilled retail manager should count himself lucky. With this victory in hand, just imagine what his prospects will be looking for work elsewhere. Should Walmart lay him off, he will never get a job again. There are great injustices in the workplace that need to be championed. Working in retail on a Sunday, in my books, is not among them.

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The fact of the matter though is that they did accomodate him for years prior to the change in policy. In my mind, that makes the suit a legitimate test of the law. It is not always as easy as snapping one's fingers to get a comparable job in a reasonable amount of time. I hope Walmart does not decide to punish him in other ways though I realize that many companies would do so.

I must say that I also think championing one day off per week for any employee for any day because of religious reasons is very reasonable. I might exempt small businesses though where it might indeed be more likely to cause a hardship. The "American" exceptionalism taught in the BoM is tied to the righteousness of the people. In this case, the law is doing very little to hurt anyone else by allowing someone a religious day off but it is giving individuals more flexibility to be righteous according to their own beliefs.

And yes, I run a business myself.

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My understanding is that there was no agreement that he did not have to work on Sundays; rather he put on his initial application that he did not want to work on Sundays. It was not a change of policy but rather a change in scheduling. The change was made to accommodate more workers and make the distribution of days off more fair. They did not suddenly change their enforcement, in fact, enforcement never changed; it just never affected this employee before. He was allowed to swap Sunday shifts without consequence so, from my perspective, they were being accommodating. If I worked in retail, I would consider myself lucky to have avoided Sunday scheduling for so many years. Scheduling workers at a large store like Walmart is a nightmare. There are innumerable accommodations a manager has to make. In today's job climate, an unskilled retail manager should count himself lucky. With this victory in hand, just imagine what his prospects will be looking for work elsewhere. Should Walmart lay him off, he will never get a job again. There are great injustices in the workplace that need to be championed. Working in retail on a Sunday, in my books, is not among them.

Just going from my past experience with Wal-Mart. I hired on with the agreement they would schedule me around my school schedule. It worked fine until a new assistant stated doing the scheduling.

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