When it comes to accommodating religious needs, employers often have to be lenient to avoid trouble.
But a recent case complicated the matter when a candidate’s request for an accommodation directly interfered with the job requirements.
Request posed hardships
Mitche Dalberiste, a Seventh Day Adventist, applied for a technician position at GLE Associates, which entailed a seven-day workweek and 12-hour shifts.
When the company learned his faith would prohibit him from working on the Sabbath – from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday – it revoked his job offer.
Dalberiste sued for religious discrimination, retaliation and failure to accommodate. He argued the employer could’ve altered other employees’ work schedules and duties to work around Dalberiste’s religious needs.
However, the court said that providing such accommodations would place an undue burden on both the employer and other employees.
The employer would not only incur additional costs, but it would have to restructure its scheduling procedures.
And, to compensate for Dalberiste’s schedule, the other employees would have to bear an additional workload.
This case shows there are non-discriminatory justifications for refusing religious accommodations when hardships would arise.
Cite: Dalberiste v. GLE Associates Inc., 5/19/20.