Observant Jew Cannot Work Saturday Shifts - page 3

Dear Nurse Beth, I am a nurse with 4 years experience. I am also an observant Jew hence I observe the Sabbath. At my current job, I work every Sunday instead of alternating weekends (Saturday and... Read More

  1. by   Charkiyay
    As with all things with Judaism, I suggest consulting your rabbi, since those of us who are observant Jews know, halakhah (translation for non-Jews = Jewish law) is very complex. However, as you are also aware, life-saving and life-preserving activities are permitted on Shabbat (the Sabbath), but perhaps you could refrain from other activities which would not be shomer Shabbat (translation= not guarding the Sabbath) outside of your patient care duties.
  2. by   Charkiyay
    Quote from Mavrick
    Your reasons for being unable to fulfill the requirements of the job (religious or otherwise) do not matter. Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, not re-model an entire hospital wing. In a 24/7/365 business, it is not reasonable to require someone else to consistently work a shift you choose not to work. Just re-write the arbitrary religious rules you choose to selectively follow to accommodate your personal snowflake situation. You are an unqualified employment candidate.

    Or.

    Stay at your current job. Keep looking for a job that is similar to your current schedule.

    Our Jewish "arbitrary rules" as you labeled them, are NOT arbitrary, and NOT subject to rewriting. Our law was given to us well over three millennia ago and informs every aspect of the observant Jew's life. To call the nurse's situation a "snowflake situation" shows tremendous disrespect and lack of cultural sensitivity. I sure hope you exercise more sensitivity with your patients.
  3. by   SallyRNCNOR
    Dear Nurse Beth:
    I feel that you dropped the ball on this one. According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Any employer who has more than 50 employees must make every possible effort to accommodate that employees religious beliefs. The prospective employee who is an observant Jew could also make the accommodation to work every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so long as she gets her religiious holidays (Rosh Hashonnah & Yom Kippur) as well. It is up to the employer if they want to hire this prospective employee, but to refuse to hire her because of her religious restrictions, would be a violation of the law and also discriminatory in nature.
  4. by   Oldmahubbard
    Interesting. While this makes wonderful sense on paper, in the real nursing world, working Christmas Day would hardly make up the difference for that entire year of Friday and Saturday nights.There would quickly be intense resentment.

    Even if administration allowed it, soon gossip and anti-Semitic sentiment would take over the unit. Nurses are notoriously petty and jealous about anyone who is perceived to have an "easier assignment", even if it is just for the shift. Forget about a permanently "easier" assignment!

    I have known nurses who had legitimate paperwork to show that they needed a fairly small ADA accommodation. Nothing that different from the usual duties, but anything that is seen as any type of an accommodation ( read "easier assignment") is akin to blood in the water for sharks.

    I had to get out of nursing, as I have said in many other posts, because of the petty mentality, but there you have it.
  5. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from SallyRNCNOR
    Dear Nurse Beth:
    I feel that you dropped the ball on this one. According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Any employer who has more than 50 employees must make every possible effort to accommodate that employees religious beliefs. The prospective employee who is an observant Jew could also make the accommodation to work every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so long as she gets her religiious holidays (Rosh Hashonnah & Yom Kippur) as well. It is up to the employer if they want to hire this prospective employee, but to refuse to hire her because of her religious restrictions, would be a violation of the law and also discriminatory in nature.
    I understand, and no hospital would give that as a reason for not hiring.

    The law also says an employer must accommodate religious beliefs within reason and if does not cause the business unnecessary hardship.
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Feb 14
  6. by   Eris Discordia BSN, RN
    It all comes down to what a reasonable accommodation for the business is. An example of a reasonable accommodation is allowing a Muslim or Mennonite woman to cover her arms, head, and legs in a clean, traditional but safe manner. That does not impact patient care, safety, or running the hospital as a business.

    Universally excluding an individual from needing to fill a hospital policy-mandated requirement for the posted job of working the two single most difficult shifts to staff every single week, is not a reasonable accomodation, for any reason, particularly in a new hire. It directly impacts the hospital's ability to provide fair, adequate nursing staffing and safe patient care.

    That being said, hospitals have a wide variety of requirements and they all vary from facility to facility, day to night shift, part time to full time, to PRN or Flexi. It's not out of the realm of possibility a position or unit exists that may work...prn may be a better option if you can spare the benefits. Who knows.

    However, I find it hard to believe that any job candidate, regardless if the reason being a protected class, would win a legal battle with a 24/7/365 hospital over the right to be hired with an exclusion of working any weekend requirement, as it exists in the policy, if that requirement is listed as part of the job description and is a pre-hire requirement.

    Furthermore, unless the manager comes out and says they aren't hiring you for your religious affiliation, they are pretty much in the clear.

    If questioned, they could provide almost any other rationale for not hiring and that would be the end of that. I've worked with managers whose reason not to hire someone was as simple as the candidate's facial expressions when touring the unit and observing patient care...no joke. It was a psych position and the candidate had a look of abject terror on her face when she shadowed. That was all the director needed not to hire her because she had a pile of other qualified candidates to chose from. That's life.

    Just keep looking.

    Best of luck.
  7. by   amoLucia
    Unless someone else has said this ... I wonder what would happen to employees who seek Saturdays off and then they need to stay over from their Friday into Saturday because of some unforeseen/unexpected absence of the next employee. Like in all this crazy bad winter snow/rain/hurricane?

    All kinds of attempting to get someone else to cover failed.

    I doubt they would run out of the facility protesting, or would they? I just wonder.
  8. by   not.done.yet
    So if observant Jews cannot work the Sabbath, who staffs the hospitals during Sabbath in Israel?
  9. by   FranEMTnurse
    The Old Testament States that it is the "Ox in a Ditch" situation which means that if an emergency arises, we are allowed to help others. I observed the Sabbath on Saturdays also, and went on ambulance calls. One call was concerning a baby that had a brain tumor, and went into grand mal seizures.
  10. by   NurseCard
    Quote from Charkiyay
    Our Jewish "arbitrary rules" as you labeled them, are NOT arbitrary, and NOT subject to rewriting. Our law was given to us well over three millennia ago and informs every aspect of the observant Jew's life. To call the nurse's situation a "snowflake situation" shows tremendous disrespect and lack of cultural sensitivity. I sure hope you exercise more sensitivity with your patients.
    I have to agree with this. I don't necessarily feel like the OP's employer
    should have to make special accommodations for her, but at the same time I
    think her beliefs deserve some respect. The term "snowflake" is very
    highly disrespectful and I really don't think it applies here at all.
  11. by   ButterflyRN90
    As an RN just starting her first hospital job who is a Christian, I'd have loved to have Sundays off for church. However, that's not feasible and that's okay. God knows that we aren't twiddling our thumbs. I can't expect a fellow coworker to take all Sundays. It wouldn't be fair. You may need to find a position that is M-F. I also have my Bible studies on Fridays but I can't request those days off either. I've had a coworker (past job) get EVERY Christian holiday off yet I am a Christian who would have wanted those days off but guess who was required to cover ALL of her shifts? Me. So look at it in that perspective. It is what it is.

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