Oy Vey! Advanced Auto gets screwed in discrimination ruling
My blood was boiling reading Louis C. Hochman's story on a Jewish man who took a part-time job with Advanced Auto Parts only to have it end up in a religious discrimination case. Ron Michael Lerner says he told them in the interview he never wanted to work Friday nights nor Saturdays due to the Sabbath. Advance Auto says they told him it was a retail environment and he may have to work Saturdays. Eventually Lerner only worked Sundays according to the filing and felt his were cut due to his religious beliefs. How do you tell your boss you can't work certain days then are shocked that they can't offer you more hours?
Lerner claims he was fired after 2 months, and Advance Auto Parts says that isn't true whatsoever. They say he remained on the job for five months and that he finally just started not showing up for work. Even more interesting that state investigators agree Lerner became a no-show according to the Asbury Park Press. Yet in an announcement by the Division on Civil Rights Advance Auto Parts now must pay him $10,000.
Craig Sashihara, NJ Division on Civil Rights Director, said, "The promise of religious freedom means, at a minimum, that our fellow citizens should not have to choose between their faith and supporting their families. In New Jersey, employers are required to accommodate the sincerely held religious practices of their employees, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.”
Wow. Let's take a look at what the law says about undue hardship then.
An undue hardship is defined as an “accommodation requiring unreasonable expense or difficulty, unreasonable interference with the safe or efficient operation of the workplace, a violation of a bona fide seniority system, or a violation of any provision of a collective bargaining agreement.”
Efficient operation of the workplace. Bingo. Should have been case closed right there, because this is a retail establishment. Retail establishments require people to work weekends because it is their busiest time. Lerner may have wanted more hours on weekdays, but that's not when Advance Auto needed someone. To force a business to rearrange hours based on someone who is brand new through the door is ridiculous considering the nature of this particular job. In no way do I feel this was a case of religious discrimination. By definition the state of New Jersey has placed an undue hardship on this business.
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