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Employee could be required to work on Sabbath

For 10 years, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier in Ohio was allowed to avoid working on Saturdays to accommodate his Jewish faith. But when budget constraints forced the Post Office to reduce staffing levels and require more carriers to work on Saturdays, other employees became unhappy with the man’s arrangement. The accommodation was eliminated after union members voted to recommend its termination.

The postmaster suggested to the man that he reserve some of his vacation time for Saturday absences, and that he use leave time and exchange days with other carriers. The man sued for religious discrimination under federal law. He claimed that being forced to take days off from work without pay reduced his compensation and his eventual pension.

But a federal appeals court ruled against the man, saying the Post Office had acted reasonably under the circumstances. It said the Post Office never discharged or disciplined the man, and didn’t use the requirement of working on the Sabbath as a way of denigrating his religion or forcing him to quit.

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