Reply RESPONSE in (IRAC) ISSUE, RULE, ANALYSIS, and a CONCLUSION
Question: Must an employer make a good faith effort to try to accommodate an employee’s Sabbath when the accommodation would place the employer in violation of a collective bargaining agreement? Explain
Mary Myers is a practicing Seventh-day Adventist. The tenets of her religion forbid her from engaging in any form of work on the Sabbath, which extends from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.
In June 1988, Myers was hired as a full-time bus operator trainee by the New York City Transit Authority, which operates its buses on a seven-day-per-week, 24-hour-per-day basis. From the outset, Myers made it clear to her supervisors that her religious commitments would prevent her from working between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday. A problem arose because she was assigned Wednesdays and Thursdays as her days off, a schedule requiring her regularly to work on her Sabbath. Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the Port Authority and the Transport Workers Union, the privilege of selecting weekly days off was allocated in accordance with a strict seniority system. Myers spoke with several of her employer’s representatives in an effort to obtain some accommodation for her Sabbath observance. Her request for “split” days off was rebuffed on the ground that the practice was forbidden by the collective bargaining agreement.