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Did Your Employer Show Any Signs of Religious Discrimination When They Rejected Your Request to Take Time Off for Christmas? Get Legal Help From Our Experienced Employment Lawyers

Did your employer reject your request to have Christmas day off even after you provided a religious or medical reason? You may be entitled to pursue legal action against them. Our employment team at West Coast Employment Lawyers are readily available to assist those who have faced mistreatment or discriminiation in the workplace. With our track record of winning more than $1.5 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case. 

We run on a contingency-fee basis. If we do not win your case, you do not owe us anything. To schedule a free consultation, you may reach out to us by calling (213) 410-5626 or filling out our quick contact form.

Is It Legal for Your Employer to Make You Work on Christmas?

Yes. In California, it is legal for an employer to make an employee work on Christmas. However, if the employee notifies the employer that they are unable to attend work on Christmas due to religious or medical reasons, the employer may offer reasonable accommodation. 

Is the Employer Required to Shut Down the Business on Christmas?

No. There is no California law that requires an employer to close on holidays. Your employer is given the decision of selecting which days they choose to have the business open and closed. 

Are Employees Paid More for Working on Christmas?

There is no law that requires an employer to offer special compensation to an employee for working on a holiday or over the weekend. The only form of special compensation that can be granted is overtime pay if the employee performed more than 8 hours of work in a day or 40 hours in a week.

An employer is also not required to provide paid time off to employees who take or are given Christmas off. If the employer decides to give paid time off, then it is likely that they have established a policy or practice that allows employees to have paid time off on Christmas.

Holiday Pay: Exempt vs Non-Exempt Employees

Non-Exempt Employees

If a business is shut down on a holiday, non-exempt employees are not required to be paid their hourly wages according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Non-exempt employees are compensated for the amount of hours they have worked.

Exempt Employees

Exempt employees are required to be paid a full weekly salary if they complete work activities within a workweek. If an employer shuts down business operations for a holiday for only part of a workweek, and an exempt employee performs any work during that specific week, they must be paid for the full week. However, if operations are shut down for the full workweek, then the exempt employee will not be compensated for that particular week. 

Tips on How to Ask Your Employer to Take Christmas Off

If your employer is going to make you work on Christmas, but you have a religious reason to miss work that day, you may be qualified for reasonable accommodation. Below, we have created a list of tips we encourage employees to consider when preparing an explanation to their employer.

Give an Early Notice to Your Employer

Since everyone practically knows when Christmas is going to be, it will be easier for you to ask your employer in advance that you will not be able to attend work on Christmas due to religious reasons. You should send your notice through email in case you may need proof that you did, in fact, reach out to your employer a month or two ahead of time.

Provide a Detailed Explanation of Your Beliefs

You should provide a thorough explanation of your religious beliefs, such as what you will be observing on Christmas, while typing up your message to your employer. Make sure to also include what form of accommodation you are seeking, which in this matter would be requesting Christmas day off to focus on your religious beliefs. Mentioning these details will help the employer get a better understanding of where you are coming from. 

As previously stated, you should have this sent in advance to give the employer enough time to find an employee to cover your shift while you take the day off. 

What About Medical Reasons?

If you fall ill and are unable to attend work on Christmas, you may request to have the day off to recover from your condition. Below, we have created a list of tips that may be useful to incorporate into your sick day request.

Inform Your Employer About Your Situation as Soon as Possible

Use any form of communication that you believe would be the best way to contact your employer to request Christmas off. The sooner you ask, the more time the employer will have to find an employee to cover your shift. This will help prevent the company from facing any potential setbacks.

Discuss Your Availability to Your Employer

Once you have notified your employer about your condition, you should let them know what forms of communication will make it easier for them to reach out to you, whether it be through email or a text message. 

Avoid Mentioning Unnecessary Information

Your employer does not need to know personal details about your condition or what your doctor has privately discussed with you. Make sure to keep information about your illness brief. 

Let Your Employer Know That You Will Keep Them Updated

If possible, let your employer know that you will keep them up to date on the status of your condition. There have been cases where an employee’s illness has progressively worsened, thus extending the duration of their sick leave. Keeping your employer updated on your situation will help them make temporary arrangements until you are able to return back to work. 

Employer Refuses to Provide Reasonable Accommodation

There are employers who refuse to accept an employee’s request to seek reasonable accommodation, whether it be for a religious belief or medical reason. Below, our employment attorneys have provided legal insight on reasonable accommodations and what legal actions you can take if you believe that your employer is committing unlawful actions against you.

Religious Belief 

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee based on their religion. This includes refusing to provide the employee reasonable accommodations for their religious beliefs or practices. 

However, if the employee’s religious reason causes an undue hardship on the business, then the employer may refuse to provide reasonable accommodation. To identify undue hardship, the employer must prove one or more of the following:

  • The undue hardship is costly;
  • The undue hardship may cause a decrease in workplace productivity;
  • The undue hardship may violate the rights of the other employees; or
  • The undue hardship may cause employees to perform more than their fair share of work-related tasks, thus becoming a burden on them. 

If the employer is unable to show proof of undue hardship, the employee may file a religious discrimination claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Medical Reason

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on their medical condition with regard to employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, or demoting the employee. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also prevents employers from harassing, terminating, demoting, or failing to offer reasonable accommodations to a disabled employee.

If you believe your employer is mistreating or discriminating against you after refusing to comply with your request to receive reasonable accommodation for your medical condition, you may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC).

The post Can your boss make you work on Christmas? appeared first on West Coast Trial Lawyers.

The post Can your boss make you work on Christmas? appeared first on West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Photo of West Coast Trial Lawyers West Coast Trial Lawyers

Neama Rahmani is the President and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Neama graduated from UCLA at the age of 19 and Harvard Law School at the age of 22, making him one of the youngest graduates in the 200-year history of the…

Neama Rahmani is the President and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers.

Neama graduated from UCLA at the age of 19 and Harvard Law School at the age of 22, making him one of the youngest graduates in the 200-year history of the law school. Upon graduation, Neama was hired by O’Melveny & Myers, the largest law firm in Los Angeles, where he represented companies such as Disney, Marriott, and the Roman Catholic Church.

But Neama wanted to help ordinary people, not corporations, so he joined the United States Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted drug and human trafficking cases along the United States-Mexico border. While working as a federal prosecutor, Neama captured and successfully prosecuted a fugitive murderer and drug kingpin who had terrorized Southern California and was featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” Neama was then appointed to be the Director of Enforcement of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, an independent watchdog that oversees and investigates the elected officials and highest level employees of the City of Los Angeles, including the Mayor and City Council. He held that position until becoming a trial lawyer for the people.

Neama has extensive trial experience. He has led teams of more than 170 attorneys in litigation against the largest companies in the world. Neama has successfully tried dozens of cases to verdict as lead trial counsel, and has argued before both state and federal appeals courts. Over the course of his career, Neama has handled thousands of cases as attorney of record and has helped his clients obtain more than $1 billion in settlements and judgments.