Need Some Advice

I've been out of work for a while now, and I had an interview at a restaurant. I spoke with both the hiring manager and the GM and things were going good. (Well, at least from my perspective. I did make the hiring manager laugh.) Anywho, during the interview the GM had to go help and employee with a problem. While I was waiting for her to return another employee (I have no idea what position she held in the company.) came over to finish the interview. She took one look at my application, saw I didn't want to work on Sundays (because I go to church) and said I couldn't be hired.

That's religious discrimination. Should I say something to them? Should I compromise and work Sunday evenings? I don't feel like I should compromise my beliefs for a job. Any advice would be wonderful.

Forums: 
TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

It's religious discrimination if they let Jews request not to work Saturdays, and let that happen, but not you off on Sunday.

Closing on Friday so a mostly-muslim staff can go to the Mosque for prayers, but firing people who refuse to work on Sunday for church would be discrimination.

But a flat "must be available 24/7" policy isn't religious discrimination, I don't think. There's no evidence at all that it's discrimination *based on religion*.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

Noticed I couldn't work on Sunday. I told her the reason was because I attend church on that day. That's when she responded with 'They don't hire people who can't work Sundays'.

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

put much stock in what a random employee says. Unless the hiring manager and GM tell you that, ignore her. It was on the application that you aren't available on Sundays but they still called you in for an interview. I'm sure they noticed it, and if they don't hire people who aren't available 24/7, they wouldn't have bothered.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Tigger wrote:
[I wouldn't] put much stock in what a random employee says. Unless the hiring manager and GM tell you that, ignore her. It was on the application that you aren't available on Sundays but they still called you in for an interview. I'm sure they noticed it, and if they don't hire people who aren't available 24/7, they wouldn't have bothered.

This mostly sums up my thoughts. And even if the GM didn't realize that you weren't available on Sundays until the interview, the fact that he didn't ask you about it probably means that it doesn't matter.

It's possible, though, that the GM didn't look at your availability until right before or during the interview, decided not to hire you, but didn't want to have any confrontation so he went through with the interview as if nothing was wrong. (I've known a lot of people like this.) If that's the case, you might get a silent rejection. Of course, people get silent rejections all the time for other reasons, so if you do get a silent rejection, it doesn't really tell you anything.

Now, if you really need the job and you want to prevent a possible silent-rejection-due-to-non-availability-on-Sunday, then you should contact the GM letting him know that if your availability was a deal-breaker, you'd be willing to work Sunday evenings even though you'd prefer not to work then. Ideally, you should surround this statement with reminders that you really like this job and really appreciate the interview, etc. If you haven't written or emailed him a thank you note for the interview yet, you could mention it in your thank you note.

Cheez-It's picture

No, it's religious discrimination _any_ time an employer won't let employees take time off for religious reasons; it doesn't matter whether they let some employees do it but not others. What makes it discrimination is that the employer is making the employee do something that they have a problem with even though, say, an atheist employee wouldn't, and therefore making the work environment less welcoming to the religious employee than it would be to an atheist.

And the EEOC specifically says "An employee cannot be forced to participate (or not participate) in a religious activity as a condition of employment." Making someone work instead of going to church sounds like a pretty clear-cut violation of that.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

As I'm reading it, an employer wouldn't be able to force you to attend church/mosque/synagogue/cult/whatever, but they can choose to not hire you (or make life very difficult for you - bad shifts, etc.) because you cannot be available at that time, so long as that would apply to anyone who wanted that position.

There's nothing preventing an atheist from saying "I need every Tuesday off because I spend that day reading scientific journals and contemplating the universe." At that point, it would be up to the manager to see if they wanted to hire someone who wasn't going to be available to work on Tuesdays.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Though employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs, in this case they'd only be required to allow you to go to church (unless you hold strictly to the belief that Sunday, as the day of rest, does not allow you to work, which from your comment about working in the evening seems unlikely). As long as your work schedule does not prevent you attending church, and you are not of the Absolutely No Work On Sunday variety of Christian, they probably have the right to insist you work Sundays.

That being said, I agree with the above comments- this is something to discuss with the hiring manager.

blwinteler's picture

Supplicant

any schedule assigned to them, and that can include Sundays. Our site is closed on Saturdays. Many of the employees go to church on Saturday so they can work Sundays, or they go to church at whatever time of day they are off on Sundays. As Marri said, they just can't tell you that you can't go to church at all. I also agree that you should talk with the managers to clarify expectations and needs on all sides.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

for the advice. I'm going to call the GM back Monday and find out exactly what she thought of me. I'll also bring up the abrupt end to the interview and see what she says.

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