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Sabbath Accommodation Request - Employee Letter








Dear (NAME):

I am writing to request religious accommodation for my observance of Sabbath. I am a Seventh-day Adventist, and I observe the Sabbath as a day of rest and worship from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. In Exodus 20, the Bible commands us “to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” and to refrain from work on that day. Sabbath observance is so important to Adventists that it is part of our church’s name, i.e., “Seventh-day.”

I am grateful for my job, and always strive to do my very best at work. I do not wish to have a conflict between my job duties and my obligations to God. I will be very grateful if you could assist me in achieving a suitable schedule to avoid such a conflict.

I am informed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” for employee’s religious observances. Although a manager may consider it reasonable to permit me to have, say, every other Saturday off work, this would not actually accommodate my belief, since I cannot work on any Sabbath. Moreover, I am informed that the Federal Courts have held a “reasonable accommodation” is one that eliminates the conflict between the job duties and a worker’s religion. To permit me to have Sabbath off once or twice a month would not suffice as a “reasonable accommodation,” since it would still force me to choose between my religion and my job.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has excellent regulations and a compliance manual with lots of information and suggestions for how someone, like myself, can be accommodated. These may prove helpful to consult. Scheduling accommodations may involve:


1. Change employee to a shift or department that does not operate on Friday night or Saturday.


2. Swap shifts with another employee.


3. Work on Sunday or holidays in place of Saturday.


4. Work a flexible schedule so that the employee can leave the job on Friday afternoon before sundown, to permit time to travel home before Sabbath begins.


5. Make a temporary accommodation while a permanent one is being arranged.


6. Avoid application of punitive leave policies


Whatever adjustments need to be made, you can count on me to do everything I can to cooperate fully. I have the interest of the company at heart. Please give this request consideration at your earliest convenience. This is a matter of considerable importance and urgency to me. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further at your convenience.






cc: Alan J. Reinach, Esq.

     Executive Director and General Counsel

     Church State Council