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Employment Law/requested days off for church


I started my job Oct of 2012. I asked for the 1st & 3rd Saturdays off for Church. I am a leader in our Youth Services. I really didnt think I was asking a whole lot. I told her I would work that Sunday. Our Church has our Youth Services every Wednesday (which we havent been able to go since I started this job) the 1st & 3rd Saturdays as well. then we have Sunday Service.. I only requested the Saturdays off. I havent received any Saturdays off and she has given me every Sunday off, which we hardly ever go to Church on Sundays. My kids & I are getting very frusrated. We used to go to church 3 to 4 days a week to church and I am only asking for 2 days a month and cant get it... What can I do? Its to the point I would rather quit my job and be able to go to church and struggle then not be able to go at all.. What rights if any do I have here. I also have another question.. Every Monday I work 1pm-9pm. Then I have to be back at 5am-1pm on Tuesday. By the time I get home and wind down, feed my kids, pickup house and etc., and finally fall asleep its 2 or 3 in the morning.. I am only getting about 2-2.5 hours of sleep. I have told her that I cant do it anymore and she is still scheduling me that way. What can I do about it?


I am sorry to hear about your situation.  Let me address the scheduling issue first:  there is no requirement under Federal or Nebraska law that you get any minimum number of hours off between work shifts.  

Now for the religious question.  When you refer to Youth Services, do you mean actual worship services, or are you referring to some other Church-sponsored youth activity?  This is important, because Federal law, specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibits employers covered by the law (that is, having 15 or more employees) from denying a requested reasonable accommodation of an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof – if an accommodation will not impose an undue hardship on the conduct of the business.  If you are talking about worship services, I believe you have a very strong claim to accommodation of your request for two Saturdays a month off, unless the employer can show that granting the request would cause an "undue hardship" to the employer's business.  This is often difficult to show in the religious accommodation context.  If the Youth Services are not actual worship services, you still may have a good claim to be accommodated, but it's not as clear, and would depend on a showing that the activities are truly religious and not social.

I can't answer that for you based on what I know about your case, but I would suggest that you contact the nearest office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and describe your situation to someone on the staff there.  They can determine from their internal enforcement guidelines whether you qualify to request an accommodation, and whether the employer's denial of that request may constitute a violation of the law.

You can locate the nearest EEOC office by using the web page linked here:

I hope you find this helpful.  

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Frank C. Magill


I can answer questions about any U.S. labor or employment law question. I cannot answer questions about non-US law. I am not a specialist in employee benefit law (ERISA and HIPAA) or Workers' Compensation law, but will do my best to point questioners toward good resources availabe online. Expertise includes, without limitation, EEO/Affirmative Action/Employment discrimination (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, GINA, Fair Credit Reporting Act as applied to employment); Fair Labor Standards Act; Texas labor code; Family Medical Leave Act; employee compensation; discipline and dismissal; force reductions, severance pay programs and administration; collective bargaining, union representation, grievances and arbitration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board; employee handbooks; staffing; dispute resolution outside of traditional labor agreements; employee communications; employment policies and compliance programs; codes of ethics; employment or labor litigation.


30+ years experience as corporate counsel for a Fortune 100 telecom company, specializing in labor and employment law issues. In addition to providing day-to-day advice to my company's internal HR leadership and staff, I've represented the company in numerous labor arbitration cases and at the bargaining table.

Texas, Illinois and Missouri state bars

J.D. 1979, Harvard Law School. B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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