Understandably so, you may want to take a day off for a religious observance. Though, you may be unsure as to whether your employer is going to grant your request. You must know your rights in a situation like this. Follow along to find out if your employer can deny you time off for a religious holiday and how a proficient New York discrimination lawyer at Bell Law Group can help you in getting this accommodation.
Can my employer deny me permission to take off for a religious holiday?
Notably, federal and New York State law requires that employers make reasonable religious accommodations for their employees’ religious beliefs. This may include scheduling changes, dress code exceptions, and work locations designated for prayer. And this is so long as doing so does not create an undue hardship on the employer or the functionality of the workplace.
More specifically, New York State employment law and New York State Human Rights Law hold that employers must accommodate employees so that they may observe their religion’s holy days. They may make accommodations in any of the following ways:
- An employer may allow the employee to make up their missed work at another time to observe their religion’s holy day.
- An employer may allow the employee to swap shifts with a coworker to observe their religion’s holy day.
- An employer may allow the employee to take paid leave to observe their religion’s holy day.
- An employer may allow the employee to take leave without pay to observe their religion’s holy day.
What should I do if I was denied time off?
If your employer refused to give you time off to observe a religious holiday, then you may have a workplace discrimination claim on your hands. But before you pursue legal action, you must ensure that absolutely no accommodations were made for you. That is, you must confirm the following as true:
- You must confirm that you gave your employer a sufficient amount of time and information to assess your request to take off for this religious observance, but they denied it anyway.
- You must confirm that you answered all of your employer’s questions regarding the significance of this religious holiday, but they denied it anyway.
- You must confirm that your employer did not grant your specific accommodation requested, let alone an accommodation that would have still met your religious needs.
- You must confirm that your time off would not have created an undue hardship (i.e., it did not conflict with your employer’s profits, your workplace’s safety, or established laws).
It should go without saying that you must consult with a talented New York employee rights lawyer immediately. Give us a call whenever you can.