Tuesday, October 30, 2007

State Court Finds Fact Issue Over Whether Employee Discharge for Missing Work for Jewish Holidays Discriminatory

Check out this case summary reported today (10/30/07) in the NYLJ from New York State Supreme Court, Richmond County (Staten Island)

Sands v. Community Resources

October 30, 2007

Justice Gigante

PLAINTIFF EMPLOYEE moved for summary judgment on her claim of employment discrimination. Defendant employer also moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff requested time off for Rosh Hashanah. Defendant allowed plaintiff to take one day off, but she neither came to work on nor called on either of the two days and was terminated for violating the attendance policy upon her return. The court found plaintiff made a prima facie case of discrimination sufficient to survive summary dismissing. It noted the circumstances gave rise to a reasonable inference plaintiff's absence was the cause for termination. The court noted defendant did not address whether a reasonable accommodation would have caused an undue hardship. It opined evidence of defendant's reliance on attendance policies, and that it hired another Jewish woman who took off Jewish holidays to replace plaintiff, satisfied plaintiff's burden in rebuttal. Thus, it appeared discrimination may have been the real reason for plaintiff's termination, and both motions were denied.

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