Archived Denying Availability Change?

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Can one's ETL deny their request for having Sundays off even if it's due to religious reasons?
This happened to someone I know recently and it doesn't seem right but I could be mistaken.
I told this person to explain their reasoning to the ETL and that they specifically asked for that day off due to their religious beliefs.
Any thoughts?
 

pellinore

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ETLs can deny availability changes. Trying to change your time when it involves a weekend day might be hard to do. Especially if this person has already been working the weekend day for awhile.

One possible idea is to have the availability change as PART of the day and not expect to have the full day off every weekend.
 

commiecorvus

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If they were hired because they were available for the weekends it becomes an issue as well.
 
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I think if its for religious purposes, an employer cant impede that tm. Not 100% sure.
 

commiecorvus

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Here is the link concerning the federal law concerning this situation.

http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda_religion.html

This seems like the pertinent section:

Scheduling Changes, Voluntary Substitutes, and Shift Swaps

An employer may be able to reasonably accommodate an employee by allowing flexible arrival and departure times, floating or optional holidays, flexible work breaks, use of lunch time in exchange for early departure, staggered work hours, and other means to enable an employee to make up time lost due to the observance of religious practices.
Eliminating only part of the conflict is not sufficient, unless entirely eliminating the conflict will pose an undue hardship by disrupting business operations or impinging on other employees’ benefits or settled expectations.

Moreover, although it would pose an undue hardship to require employees involuntarily to substitute for one another or swap shifts, the reasonable accommodation requirement can often be satisfied without undue hardship where a volunteer with substantially similar qualifications is available to cover, either for a single absence or for an extended period of time.
The employer’s obligation is to make a good faith effort to allow voluntary substitutions and shift swaps, and not to discourage employees from substituting for one another or trading shifts to accommodate a religious conflict.
However, if the employer is on notice that the employee’s religious beliefs preclude him not only from working on his Sabbath but also from inducing others to do so, reasonable accommodation requires more than merely permitting the employee to swap, absent undue hardship.

An employer does not have to permit a substitute or swap if it would pose more than de minimis cost or burden to business operations.
If a swap or substitution would result in the employer having to pay premium wages (such as overtime pay), the frequency of the arrangement will be relevant to determining if it poses an undue hardship.
The Commission will presume that the infrequent payment of premium wages for a substitute or the payment of premium wages while a more permanent accommodation is being sought are costs which an employer can be required to bear as a means of providing reasonable accommodation. 29 C.F.R. Part 1605.

My read on it is that the company has to prove that it is a hardship to give you the time off, which if they don't have very many other people to work that shift wouldn't be hard but I suspect if you put in the same request with that section of Title VII they would back down.
Of course it would also mean they would hate you and might performance you out.
 

sigma7

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We've had people that need Sunday off, but they work every Saturday. We also have people that have Sunday morning unavailable. There's not a problem at my store, but that availability situation is something that's known from the interview. The interviewers are supposed to double check the applicant's availability. If it's a sudden life change, Target should still try to accommodate, but that will probably involve the person that needs their Sabbath day off simply forgoing those hours and be replaced by someone else.
 

ptl

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But note also:
8. Does an employer have to grant every request for accommodation of a religious belief or practice?

No. Title VII requires employers to accommodate only those religious beliefs that are religious and “sincerely held,” and that can be accommodated without an undue hardship. Although there is usually no reason to question whether the practice at issue is religious or sincerely held, if the employer has a bona fide doubt about the basis for the accommodation request, it is entitled to make a limited inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the employee’s claim that the belief or practice at issue is religious and sincerely held, and gives rise to the need for the accommodation.

Factors that – either alone or in combination – might undermine an employee’s assertion that he sincerely holds the religious belief at issue include: whether the employee has behaved in a manner markedly inconsistent with the professed belief; whether the accommodation sought is a particularly desirable benefit that is likely to be sought for secular reasons; whether the timing of the request renders it suspect (e.g., it follows an earlier request by the employee for the same benefit for secular reasons); and whether the employer otherwise has reason to believe the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons.

However, none of these factors is dispositive. For example, although prior inconsistent conduct is relevant to the question of sincerity, an individual’s beliefs – or degree of adherence – may change over time, and therefore an employee’s newly adopted or inconsistently observed religious practice may nevertheless be sincerely held. An employer also should not assume that an employee is insincere simply because some of his or her practices deviate from the commonly followed tenets of his or her religion.

If the TM has given them reasons to reasonably doubt that this represents her sincere beliefs, they do have the right (within reason) to inquire/seek proof. If she's never had a problem working Sunday mornings, or if she's got a devil's tail tattoo on her lower back, etc., they have a right to at least ask her, e.g., what church she goes to, how long she's been going, and so forth. Of course, as the last paragraph states, this isn't a super-high hurdle for the employee to clear; not everyone follows every tenet of her faith all the time, and people's beliefs change over time, etc.

And yes, as commiecorvus points out, the employer will have a much harder time proving the undue hardship than the TM will have proving the sincerity of her beliefs. This is especially true with a company like Target, where there are so many employees they could schedule in her place. Now, it is possible that they could say, "Look, we don't have enough people with availability in Sunday mornings and if we let you off, we'll have no choice but to hire someone else--which will mean a reduction in hours because we have to give them enough that they'll stay on. Are you okay with that?" Or they could give her Sunday mornings off, but not evenings (or vice versa, whatever she requests). And on and on. "Reasonable accommodation" doesn't mean "whatever the employee asks for."
 
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Sorry not buying it. I had a team member who needed Sundays off for religious reasons too. Her religion? The NFL. Seriously! If you need/want to go to church, you can be available Sunday evenings. Saturdays and Sundays are the bread and butter of the retail world. No one goes to church from open to close on Sundays. If they were hired with Sunday availability then I can see changing the time on Sunday but not deleting the day entirely.
 

sigma7

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Actually, a lot of people go to morning and evening services. But even many of them miss a service now and then whether it be for work or because they just don't go.
 

commiecorvus

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If you are an observant Jew you can't work from sundown on Friday to sundown on sundown on Saturday.
Which can be a bit of a challenge but has always worked out OK for me.
 
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If anything the majority of people in my department can only work Friday-Sunday so I'm sure my fellow TMs and even my TL would welcome somebody saying they can't work weekends so those people get a couple extra hours. With hours rapidly dropping at our store a lot of people are getting second jobs so its not surprising people are changing their availability.
 
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I feel like somehow you have to game the system along with having a sympathetic ETL and some luck. My team usually rotated weekends so I requested working Saturday with Sunday off. I worked that for a long time so when I got my other job I changed my availability keeping my very early Saturday shift so she would approve it. As luck would haave it, they were changing the way my department worked and there was no need to come in early Saturday so I changed, and got approved Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. Of course I'm deadly tired during the week and I think she realizes and doesn't bug me about my availability.
 
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It never fails, people get hired with open availability and then all of a sudden they try to put limits on it (which is usually the weekends). I want to sit home on Sundays, drink beer and watch football, I want to go watch the UFC fights on Saturday nights, I want to go out drinking on Friday nights. To me, those reasons trump your religious reason. Take your religious self in before church and do ad set, go back after church to finish your shift. Go to early morning service and then come in to close. There are so many ways to do this, but I bet you now go to early morning service, run a prayer group between services, and attend evening services too.
 
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When I applied I put I couldn't work Sundays, and brought it up during my interview. They told me it was no problem because I can work Fridays and Saturdays?? Not sure, but they ask all the time if I want to fill sunday shifts and the answer is always, "no." I probably could have on a few honestly, but I don't want them to suddenly think I'm available or something.
 
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Sorry not buying it. I had a team member who needed Sundays off for religious reasons too. Her religion? The NFL. Seriously! If you need/want to go to church, you can be available Sunday evenings. Saturdays and Sundays are the bread and butter of the retail world. No one goes to church from open to close on Sundays. If they were hired with Sunday availability then I can see changing the time on Sunday but not deleting the day entirely.

Actually smart one, have you heard of keeping the Sabbath day holy?
 

BrokenPDA

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Sorry not buying it. I had a team member who needed Sundays off for religious reasons too. Her religion? The NFL. Seriously! If you need/want to go to church, you can be available Sunday evenings. Saturdays and Sundays are the bread and butter of the retail world. No one goes to church from open to close on Sundays. If they were hired with Sunday availability then I can see changing the time on Sunday but not deleting the day entirely.

You must have never heard of a Mormon.
 
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The point tellmeaboutatime was making is that if you are that devout, you would never have agreed to Sunday availability when you were hired. Sure, some people may find religion, but it is rare to go from no church at all, to suddenly needing off every Sunday for religious reasons. It might happen, but more often, I think people just want an extra day off.
 

redeye58

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If you informed your prospective employer about observing the Sabbath during your interview & you were hired based on having your holy days off, that's one thing.
If you suddenly converted & began observing a Sabbath, that's a harder sell. I've known some devout folk who left spot to work for companies who close on the Sabbath (Hobby Lobby on Sundays, an area fast food chain on Saturdays, etc).
 
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