Should I talk to a wrongful termination attorney since I may get fired because church interferes with work?

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Question:

I work at a 24 convenience store, and everyone rotates for taking the overnight Saturday/Sunday shifts. I’m a practicing Catholic and I like to attend mass on either Saturday nights or Sunday mornings. I asked my boss to not put me on the Saturday/Sunday shift and he told me everyone has to rotate and that if I don’t take that shift I’m going to get fired. If I refuse to take this shift so I can go to church and he fires me, is that wrong and should I get a wrongful termination attorney to talk to my boss?

Answer:

Generally, employers have the right to fire people at will, which means for no reason or any reason.  However, certain classes of people are protected, and there are certain exceptions to employment at will.  Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects people form religious discrimination. Because of this protection, an employer can’t fire someone based on their religious beliefs or it would be wrongful termination.  Title VII also requires employers to act reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of their employees, as long as the accommodation doesn’t unfairly impact other workers or “place an undue hardship” on other workers.

Because of Title VII’s protections, you may have a case for wrongful termination, as long as allowing you to skip the weekend shifts would not place too large of a burden on your fellow workers. You should consult with a wrongful termination attorney, and explain your situation, along with the specific reasons your boss has stated for potentially firing you. A wrongful termination attorney can help you to evaluate whether you have a strong case for religious discrimination, and whether accommodation for your beliefs would be too large of a burden for your employer.

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