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Asshat Manager Refuses To Give Religious Day Off and Gets Told

Carolballs Donna gets a Retail Balls award for not caving into a dumbass manager's attempt to bully and manipulate, saying she'd have to choose her job over church:

I worked at the same retail drug store for almost 9 years with no major issues other than the usual stupid custys.  

I have dealt with some pretty idiotic managers though.  I walked out on one this past May over scheduling.

I've always had Wednesday evenings off for church.  The store manager went on a medical leave for 3 months for foot surgery.  The company sent an assistant fresh out of management training and who's never run a store before.  The first thing she did was throw away everybody's availability lists, telling everybody we were available when the store needed us. 

Of course this went over like a lead balloon as we had one gal working part time while in school, one guy who used this as his second job, and several with other reasons for their available hours.  

The district manager stepped in (surprising) and told her she couldn't do that, but she still tried...of course making working on days when people called in because they weren't available pure hell.  

She started trying to schedule me on Wednesday nights, did this 4 weeks in a row despite my continually informing her...verbally and written...that I wasn't available due to church. 

By the fifth week, we had a new store manager (the one on leave returned and was transferred to a different store).  I went over the assistant's head to the store manager telling her the schedule needed to be fixed because I kept being scheduled during church services. 

She said she'd have a talk with the assistant and get it fixed.  The next day the assistant takes me into the back room and starts yelling about why did I have a problem with her scheduling...

Jason 023a Again I told her she was scheduling me during church services and by law she couldn't do that.  She went on about how the store needed me, they were short handed, if I didn't work she'd have to do it by herself (out of 12 people I doubt she'd be by herself). 

I told her we could do display changes in the morning, they didn't have to be done at night...she had a fit and told me I couldn't have it both ways, it was my job or my church. 

I took my name tag off, slapped it on the counter, said "bye" and walked out.

That night, I applied for unemployment and filed a complaint with the EEOC.  I got the unemployment, they appealed and lost :D. 

I'm still waiting on the EEOC complaint.  The last letter I got stated they haven't answered that complaint yet, but I have a friend who works at the store where the previous manager got transferred to and she had gotten a phone call from corporate asking about the EEOC complaint.

--Donna

 

 

 

Comments

Grendus the Self Check Guy

Good for you. The downside of retail is that finding people qualified for the work (especially in this economy) is easy, and some managers let that power get to their head. Sounds like your company promoted two real stinkers. Don't let it get you down.

cp

Again I told her she was scheduling me during church services and by law she couldn't do that.


When did that become a law, and which law is it?

me

Hooray *throws confetti* You did awesome!!!

Humor_Me

cp: I think it has to do with the fact that when she started the job, she let them know UP FRONT what her availability was. Just because the new manager came in, doesn't change her availability. It was part of her contract for hiring, therefore, breach of contract, therefore, law broken.

cp

Humor_Me, very,very few places actually have employees sign contracts re: jobs, exceptions being sports and or entertainment industry.

And not being a salaried member, implications that manager and assistant are above her, a retail drug store in the US would not have her sign a contract. State and federal laws vary, but i have never heard of retail employees with contracts, or any law re: scheduling except for disabilities.

cp

Correction, laws re: maternity or doctor app. for disabilities etc.

Book-Nook

@CP

Where I am from it is the law that your place of employment can not make you want if you need time off for religious reasons. Very plain and simple, no ifs or ands about it.

Granted I live in a province in Canada. But if an employer was making people choose between religion and work, big shit would go down. The manager in question would undoubtedly be fired and the employee/ex-employee would get some sort of settlement and ect, depending on what route they took.

Book-Nook

*Can not make you work


sorry for the typeo

cp

Generaly speaking in the US it is a question as to wether the company can fit you in the schedule that way. When you get hired they usualy ask for your availability, but reserve the "right" to change the schedule if they need to. Thay are not required to meet your scheduling demands, and don't have to hire you if you can't provide the time they need.

Such as Walmart requiring all overnight stockers to be available on the day after Thanksgiving sale, ie: come in for a regular shift 11pm to 7am Thursday Thanksgiving day.

Donna

Donna here to explain some questions on the comments:

It is part of the EEOC laws regarding discrimination. Regardless of the type of company, if they have more than I think 20 employees (and this is a nationwide chain so they have a LOT more than 20 employees) they cannot discriminate against you because of age, gender, race, national origin, or religion. Companies cannot schedule to work during your normal religious observances. Hence why you don't see Jewish kids at school on Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashannah. There was no contract but the availability for this was on my original job application and was passed from manager to manager (they changed managers like dirty underwear).

Part of working retail hell is knowing your rights as as a retail slave and what the bosses can and cannot do. I have read some posts by slaves about stuff bosses have done that they shouldn't get away with, but the bosses have no clue about the EEOC laws http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/index.cfm

trekkiebabe31

Good for you! I'm lucky to have great bosses who let me have time off for certain special events with my church, and I'm glad you stood up for yourself. :)

Spritzy

CP~At my workplace we have a clause for reasonable accommodation of devotely held religious practices. Meaning that as long as the person truly follows it and isn't just making up a reason for the time off and it's not a obtuse amount of time, they have to allow for religious times. It's not even that the OP wants an entire day off, just a certian part of one day....not all that unreasonable.

Donna

Exactly Spritzy. Part of the EEOC law is the company must make reasonable accommodations, and they did until this manager came in. It wasn't a problem to be off by 5pm ever. They had no issue with giving one gal time off to babysit her niece, one time off to join a community choir, reasons not covered by EEOC.

I'm now working for their #1 competitor, and they have no issues with my church schedule.

Maheen

Some people don't understand that we have other things to do and that we DO have lives outside of work. Or that religion is important to some people. And that things like school come first.

cp

I am going to look at the lonk. As I said, "I" had not heard of these laws and was wondering which ones she was re: to. Now I will have a chance to read them.

Another law and or situation I learned about by reading up on laws, is that stores do NOT have a right to stop you for a reciept check. Legaly they may ask, and you may decline it, politely prefferably, and continue on your way. They may not hold you unless charging you with theft.

cp

A reason I may have missed that law is that I am atheist, and I don't drink, so I don't pay as much attention to laws re: said subjects.

I actually passed my driving questionaire because the tester allowed me to pass even though I was one of the numbers right because I was under 21 and did not get a question right re: alcohol how much drink for how long befor not drunk.

NC Tony

Good for you standing up for your beliefs. It sucks though that these know-nothing "managers" get stuck in a position where they have little to no idea what they're doing. They just know they're in charge and they let that power go to their heads, pissing off everyone under them. As far as they're concerned, the only one with an important life outside of work is them, and screw the rest of us.

Humor_Me

When I said "contract" it did not have to be a written one. It could be a verbal one.

Donna: "I'm not available Wednesday night for church services."

Employer: "Fine. We can schedule you around that."

They just agreed to an oral contract. The fact that Donna had had 9 years working for this company working around that schedule meant that the contract was valid. Just because the contract isn't signed in blood and you have a manager with a corncob up her nether regions wanting to change everything to suit her because she THINKS she can, doesn't mean she REALLY can. Nine years is a lot to argue with, and the EEOC will see it her way, even on an oral contract.

Donna

@Humor Me, so far Unemployment has seen it my way. I figure with EEOC they don't have a leg to stand on...I'm sure they'll try to say that I'd made exceptions in the past (I did a few times for times like inventory or to cover a vacation...but never because the closing manager was a moron and needed me to tell her how to do her job) so that means it couldn't be THAT important...we'll see though. As I said before though, as of 3 weeks ago they hadn't addressed the EEOC complaint yet...they were more worried about the $600ish in unemployment I got rather than the potentially higher suit from the EEOC.

Doug

EEOC: It can take up to a couple years to investigate, depending on your region. (Sadly, there are backlogs. Additionally, with various budget cuts, they often can't hire after people leave.)

That said, it would be interesting to see the official response from the company. Your long standing church attendance does indicate a bona fide religious belief. (As opposed to the guy who suddenly claims he can't work Sunday for 'church' and it just happens to be the same as Super Bowl Sunday.)

That said, even if you win, don't expect a huge payout. The base would be 'what would make you whole' - That is, the amount of actual loss. The larger sums tend to come from actually going to court after receiving your determination. Judges can do more.

Zmidponk

cp said:

'Generaly speaking in the US it is a question as to wether the company can fit you in the schedule that way. When you get hired they usualy ask for your availability, but reserve the "right" to change the schedule if they need to. Thay are not required to meet your scheduling demands, and don't have to hire you if you can't provide the time they need.'

Sorry, you're completely wrong about this. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, any employer has to accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees, and they cannot refuse to hire an employee due to their religious beliefs (including if those are 'none'). Unless it is a place that is a 'religious organisation' or 'religious educational institution', the only way they can refuse to comply with this is if they can show that doing so would cause an 'undue hardship', which would be difficult in this case, as Donna had previously been working with the accommodation she needed, with no apparent problem.

Donna

@ Doug, I'm sure it'll take a few years at least before I get a final judgement, and whether I get any award at all would just be a bonus to me, nothing I'm really counting on, but it will be known that this company is not too friendly toward Christians. Who knows, I may get awarded the difference in pay between that job and the one I hold now (about $150 per week), whatever. The way corporate was running that place, I doubt they'll even be around in 5 years.

Pressganged

@cp You're an atheist and a teetotaler so you don't know laws? What?

Jen

sorry, but why does being religious exempt you from what the rest of us have to do?

dreaming78

@Pressganged: I was confused until the second part, too. He was saying that in a different, unrelated situation, he should've lost out for not knowing the answer to a question about alcohol. However, because he was under the legal drinking age and didn't drink, he didn't know the answer to a question about alcohol and the examiner let him slide.

@Jen: Because it's the law. Like it or don't. Petition, protest, whatever. But at this time, in this place, it's a federal law, meant to protect people's rights. I imagine it's usually used for non-majority religions' safety, but it covers you whether you're Christian or worship color as a God (as long as you're devout and not just scamming).

dreaming78

@Pressganged: I was confused until the second part, too. He was saying that in a different, unrelated situation, he should've lost out for not knowing the answer to a question about alcohol. However, because he was under the legal drinking age and didn't drink, he didn't know the answer to a question about alcohol and the examiner let him slide.

@Jen: Because it's the law. Like it or don't. Petition, protest, whatever. But at this time, in this place, it's a federal law, meant to protect people's rights. I imagine it's usually used for non-majority religions' safety, but it covers you whether you're Christian or worship color as a God (as long as you're devout and not just scamming).

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