Not for Teacher: Court denies request to miss Tuesdays for Sabbath

cross.jpgBad Van Halen pun aside, let’s play some Skynyrd. Even Waldo agrees.

So, there was this woman in Louisiana who took a teaching position at an elementary school. You know the kind; one that operates on weekdays. And, around her start date, she asked the administration for Tuesdays off to pray and observe her Sabbath. And the administration was all like, no.

So, a month later, the teacher filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC, claiming religious discrimination for failure to accommodate.

Raise your hand if you think the teacher wins this lawsuit. 

Now, those of you with your hands up, ball that hand into a fist and punch yourself in the face. And, keep punching yourself, as I remind you that an employer does not need to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs if doing so would create undue hardship for the employer. In this context, undue hardship is anything “more than a de minimis cost” to the employer’s business. For this reason, an Louisiana federal court in Slocum v. Devezin dismissed the teacher’s religious discrimination claims because full-time teacher, last I checked, is a full-time position.

For more on addressing religious accommodation requests, check out this post.

  • Crystal Spraggins

    Trick question, Eric!:) You know these cases have too many variables to give a quick yes or no answer. (I’m not even a lawyer, and I know that.) Shoot.

    My first thought was that this wasn’t a real religion. Remember the Church of Body Modification case? Great case.

    Thanks, by the way, this was cute.

    • Thanks for the comment, Crystal.

      For purposes of the defendant’s motion to dismiss the court (and defendant) and assumed that the plaintiff had a sincerely-held belief, which is all that is required to meet that prong of a failure-to-accommodate claim.

      As to the actual accommodation, this was one of those case where practicality fortunately prevailed.

  • Harold Goldner

    Uh, maybe I missed something, but shouldn’t that be “NOTE for teacher?”