EEOC: Nursing home erred in firing Seventh-day Adventist nursing assistant

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Florida nursing home for firing a certified nursing assistant who did not want to work on her religion's Sabbath day.

Philomene Augustin, a practicing Seventh-day Adventist, had worked at Menorah House, a Jewish nursing home in Boca Raton, for 10 years and said she was never required to work on Saturdays. That's the Sabbath day in the Seventh-day Adventist — and Jewish — religions. But Menorah House management implemented a new policy requiring all employees to work on Saturdays, regardless of their religious affiliation, according to local reports.

The EEOC alleges that in firing Augustin, Menorah House violated religious protections guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act. The law requires "reasonable accommodation" of religious beliefs, "so long as this does not pose an undue hardship,” according to the EEOC.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation's largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, commended the EEOC lawsuit, saying that “no American should be put in the position of having to choose between their career and their conscience.”

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