JEWISH EMPLOYEE TAKES JEWISH EMPLOYER TO HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FOR SATURDAY SCHEDULE BAN
Montreal, July 24, 2014 ---In what is a rare case of same-religion discrimination, a Jewish employee has taken legal action against his Jewish employer for restricting his right to work on Saturdays and then for firing him after he complained about this unfair rule.
Jonathan is a 50 year-old Jewish hairstylist but he does not practice or observe any of his Jewish religious customs or traditions. He was hired as a hairstylist in the Fall of 2011 by the owners of a hair salon and spa in a west-end district of Montreal, who are also Jewish.
In the beginning of his employment, he worked on various days which typically included Saturdays. However, after almost one year on the job, he was told by the owners that they were to begin a new policy that did not allow Jews the right to work on Saturdays because of Jewish laws. This policy did not apply to the non-Jewish workers of the business.
Jonathan explained to the owners that he is not a practicing Jew and wanted to continue working on Saturdays. However, his employer did not accept his request because this was to be a new policy. They also, told him not to tell anyone the reason why he was no longer able to work on Saturdays and that if anyone asked why, Jonathan should tell them that it was his day off.
Although he disagreed and voiced his opinions to the owners as well as other colleagues that the new restrictions were unfair and unlawful, he continued to work because he did not want to lose his job.
One month later, Jonathan was fired because the owners found out that he had voiced his opinions to the other workers and that he told some of his clients the real reason he was not allowed to work on Saturdays. He was also told that he was not allowed to work in a 6-km radius of the business as a result of his termination.
Jonathan’s self-esteem and integrity was seriously affected, resulting in stress, depression and frustration over the fact that it was a Jewish employer who denied him his civil rights, including his freedom of religion.
As a result, he mandated CRARR to file a his civil rights complaint on his behalf with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, denouncing the discriminatory restriction and the violation of his right to equality and to dignity in employment.
CRARR is claiming $25,000 in moral and punitive damages to intentional violation of his civil rights, particularly the violation of his Jewish faith and pride, plus an amount to be specified as material damages for the loss of income and benefits and other financial expenses and material hardship.