My employer docks pay when I take a day off for a religious holiday, but allows Christmas off when I don't even want it off?

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Question:

My employer recently docked me a day’s pay when I took off work to celebrate a Jewish    holiday with my family. Almost all of my co-workers are Christians. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the only December holidays listed on our office’s winter holiday list. What should I do?

 

Answer:

If you like your job and want to stay in it without ruffling too many feathers, you might want to start by requesting a private meeting with your boss about the decision to dock your wages. If your employer still refuses to pay your for the recent Jewish holiday when you were absent (in the place of one of the listed Christian December holidays), you may need to take more aggressive action elsewhere.

First, review your employee handbook to be sure you’re not required to clear all personal days off with your boss or immediate supervisor before taking time off or substituting your day off for a listed holiday. Even if you forgot to follow the required procedures precisely, you may still have a legal claim against your employer for religious discrimination.

Seriously consider meeting with either (1) a civil rights attorney familiar with employment discrimination issues or (2) an employment discrimination lawyer who’s handled claims of religious discrimination similar to yours in the recent past.

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