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Archived Prospective ETL, questions about religious accommodations and grooming.

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Hello, this is my first post here.

I am currently pursuing an ETL position as a recent grad with retail and unrelated professional experience as a social studies teacher.

I've read the "before you sign your life away" thread and the job description sounds very similar to that of the EXA's at walgreens where I worked during undergrad. I'm aware that the job entails ridiculous hours and lots of stress... But my wife is pregnant and 30k per year at a private school with no paychecks during the summer just isn't going to pay the bills.

Anyway... after applying, I contacted a recruiter on LinkedIn and he got back with me to set up an initial phone interview. My resume is pretty solid, I have a lot of work experience, and I'm a confident person who generally does well in interviews. Obviously it's not garunteed, but I'm anticipating that I should at least land a few face to face interviews.

My question: I keep a fairly large yet neatly maintained beard for religious reasons... Is a beard likely to be a problem for me as I continue through the process?

If so, I'm wondering how to address the subject.

Also, I would need to make sure that I was able to have a part of the same day off each week to attend weekly religious service. And no, I can't skip it ever.

I need to know how I should mention this during the interview process in a way that won't make me undesirable.

Thoughts?
 

commiecorvus

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The beard I don't see even being an issue.
The day off might be an issue.
ETLs are supposed to available anytime.
I'm sure they would never say that was the reason that they overlooked you resume but it would be a primary reason.
 
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Welcome! Spot is flexible on religious stuff, just tell them in advance. Beards are ok too. Let them know about Ramadan of fasting & prayers.
 
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The beard I don't see even being an issue.
The day off might be an issue.
ETLs are supposed to available anytime.
I'm sure they would never say that was the reason that they overlooked you resume but it would be a primary reason.

This is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. They are bound to ask if I am available ANYTIME before considering me... I definitely don't want to conceal anything or lie, so it's my obligation to explain the circumstances. I just don't want to get weeded out for it.

I can skip religious services while traveling for training or something like that but I can't skip it if I'm local.

I know this may seem a bit excessive but I could furnish a letter from a religious institution or civil rights organization outlining my specific requirements. Would that be helpful or do more harm?
 
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This is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. They are bound to ask if I am available ANYTIME before considering me... I definitely don't want to conceal anything or lie, so it's my obligation to explain the circumstances. I just don't want to get weeded out for it.

I can skip religious services while traveling for training or something like that but I can't skip it if I'm local.

I know this may seem a bit excessive but I could furnish a letter from a religious institution or civil rights organization outlining my specific requirements. Would that be helpful or do more harm?
Just tell them.
 
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Just tell them.

Yea, I guess if it isn't meant to be, it's not going to happen no matter how they weed me out. The only thing I can do is try my best and hope for the same.

Thanks for the advice!
 
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commiecorvus

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Being upfront is really the only way to go.
You don't need to provide a letter or anything.
They are going to take you at your word.
 
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At my store ETLs rotate weekends and have a set day off during the week, almost always either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The day off during the week is always the same every week.

It might not be the same at all stores, but I'm pretty sure that's standard for the company. If say you got assigned Tuesday's off and you could do your service every Tuesday it should work.
 
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I actually don't need the whole day, just Friday's between noon and 4PM (depending on store location). I'm a Muslim and the Friday prayer is an obligation, not really something I can skip here and there for work.

I'm flexible otherwise.
 
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Spitfire

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I don't think any ETLs have Friday as their weekly day off, and noon to 4pm means you can't be an opener or a closer that day (unless they edit the LOD schedule for you on Friday so you can come in later as a closer.) But like everyone said, definitely be upfront about mentioning it and see if they can accomodate.

If I was an STL, I wouldn't want an ETL who couldn't work Fridays, sorry to say. But because it's for a valid religious reason, they might be willing to work with you.
 

Mhugh220

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@ETLfonhom - Target will honor your day of obligation so don't fear that. And being a Muslim, and all that entails, won't necessarily be a blocker. Obviously retail is typically free of religion but I've seen accommodations made. Jews, Muslims. Catholics, Etc all work at Target. Beards are acceptable and they'll work with your schedule.

Yes, they do expect open availability but will accommodate a day or two. Mainly as long as you can work most of the weekend, every other weekend.

Good luck. I'm not saying it's all clear but being EEO, they should accommodate your religious needs. Hopefully Target will do the right thing if you're qualified.

I'm a Catholic and meeting my obligations was a challange. Possible, but challanging. Get into software development and you won't have to worry about this stuff.
 
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They may also be willing to allow you to come in in the morning, go to the mosque, and then come back. If you are LOD, there are enough other ETLs in the building that they can help listen out for a couple of hours.

They are required to accommodate reasonable religious exemptions. And this really should be one. And frankly, I would think they would love the diversity aspect of it.
 

paidtosmile

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IMO, the best thing to do is just mention it up-front during your initial phone interview and see what happens
 
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Friday noon to 4 is going to be hard to negotiate. If it was in the middle of the week, you'd have a better chance. But Friday being one of the larger sales days...getting Friday off every week might not cut it.

What your interviewer will probably be most concerned with though is holidays and what you can/can't work during 4th quarter.
 
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The perk to hiring me would be that I have absolutely no problem working on typical holidays. I guess that is how I will frame it.

Christmas, New Years, Easter, Halloween, and whatever else... I'm happy to be there. I don't celebrate any of them and that was always a strong asset for me when I worked in other retail capacities. I enjoy being able to give someone a day off if it means something to them.

I remember I showed up to my old job at walgreens buy milk because they scheduled me off on Christmas Eve so that I could come in on Christmas... One of our cashiers looked so sad and miserable. I offered to switch for some random day later in the week, she was very happy.
 

Mhugh220

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Friday noon to 4 is going to be hard to negotiate. If it was in the middle of the week, you'd have a better chance. But Friday being one of the larger sales days...getting Friday off every week might not cut it.

What your interviewer will probably be most concerned with though is holidays and what you can/can't work during 4th quarter.

A positive - there won't be a lack of ETL presence on Friday. All ETLs worked Friday and Monday at our store. My STL was a "C" word and expected ETLs there no matter what - even if the ETL had a family emergency (like pregnant wife passing out for 3 hours on the sidewalk).

Again, they should be able to work with your schedule. Someone should be able to cover you during those periods of time. However, sometimes the hiring staff and your leadership team are different and make different promises.

If you really wanted a position I would look for the Overnight ETL-Log or Replenishment position. You won't have to worry about the 12-4 time slot issue but the hours are hard on your body and family.
 
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I did two years of overnight retail, can't do it again. Being awake all night and trying to sleep during the day literally made me crazy. The memory of my experience is like a montage of blurry drug cutscenes from a weird movie. I can handle overnights a few days here and there but to live like that is another story.
 
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So The recruiter called me and started asking some basic questions about citizenship and availability. When asked about having a completely open schedule I answered that I needed a few hours on Fridays. He immediately ended the interview and said he would have to call me back some time next week.

To be honest I feel a little annoyed that he didn't even bother to complete the interview. Shouldn't a recruiter who is responsible for conducting interviews be familiar with corporate policies regarding fair religious accommodations?

I'll update you guys about what happens next...
 

redeye58

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As forward-thinking as Target is about diversity, this irks me too.
With all the battles raging about religious freedom, this should be a no-brainer. You're asking for a few hours, not a whole day.
In years past, Black Friday would've been problematic but - since it's now Black THURSDAY - no prob.
 

Mhugh220

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It ended abruptly? Didn't ask why you are interested in Target or general employment history? This is tough because you obviously are interested in Target and can fulfill the roll. But being honest might cost you the opportunity to interview? That's messed up. Aren't there laws that are supposed to prevent this?
 
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He didn't ask me anything at all other than whether or not I was able to work legally in the United States and and whether or not I would require Target to sponsor a visa. I'm a born U.S. Citizen so that wasn't an issue. Truth be told, the entire phone call didn't last longer than a minute.

He completely and abruptly ended the interview without any warning after I mentioned that I would need a few hours on Fridays for religious reasons. I barely had enough time to interject that I was completely available during ALL other times and that I was willing and able to work on ALL other typical holidays. He didnt really even say anything in response, he just told me he would have to get back to me next week after talking to higher ups.
 
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redeye58

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Even tho it's not his religion that's the problem; it's the availability.
That being said, a few hrs of ONE DAY - peak or otherwise - isn't an unreasonable accommodation.
Seriously doubt they'd admit that.
 

Spitfire

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From doing a little research, employers can't exclude an applicant because they need "a reasonable accommodation that could be provided absent undue hardship."

My guess is that they have to speak to higher ups to figure out if every Friday off (or changing the LOD schedule on Fridays) would be an "undue hardship," whatever that exactly means. But I think the aim is to hire ETLs that have 100% open availability.
 
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From doing a little research, employers can't exclude an applicant because they need "a reasonable accommodation that could be provided absent undue hardship."

My guess is that they have to speak to higher ups to figure out if every Friday off (or changing the LOD schedule on Fridays) would be an "undue hardship," whatever that exactly means.

At this point, I'm not assuming any malice on the part of Target... It's totally possible and very likely that the interviewer just wanted to verify like you said. I completely understand the demanding nature of the position, and it's fair that the recruiter would have to make sure that my religious requirements could be fairly met before proceeding any further. Although I agree that it shouldn't be a big deal at all.

Many Jews don't work on the sabbath, does that mean that pious Jews need not apply for Target management jobs? Heck, I'd be willing to work on every single Saturday and Sunday if they could give me Friday's off. I'm sure Target can figure something out to accommodate me if they want to.

I don't want to get ahead of myself though. Right now, my only issue is with the way it was handled. I took time off work and scurried off to my car to participate in the interview... It would have been more professional if he would have taken the time to complete the initial phone interview with me. At least then he would have been able to go to the higher ups with an idea of who I am and my strength as a candidate.

We'll see...
 
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