The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, applauded the announcement by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office of a settlement with the Jean Louis David hair salon chain regarding religious employees.
The New York chain, which has 10 locations and more than 200 employees in New York City, had fired a Jewish barber who had worked for them for nearly four years after he wore a yarmulke to work. Attorney General Spitzer’s office undertook to protect the employee’s right to wear religious garb, and went a step further to ensure that Jean Louis David employees will have their other religious practices accommodated as well.
Among the terms of the settlement, the Jean Louis David chain will:
Include religious accommodation as an aspect of employee training;
Attempt to place sabbath observant employees in locations that are closed on Saturdays;
Not claim an “economic hardship” exemption from religious accommodation requirements unless 20% of their employees seek a day off for religious observance.
Nathan Diament, director of the Union’s Institute, stated that “the Orthodox Jewish community is deeply appreciative of Attorney General Spitzer’s consistent efforts to champion religious accommodation in New York’s workplaces. Mr. Spitzer recognizes that no one should be forced to choose between their career and their conscience, and we hope all employers will heed the lesson of this settlement and make certain that the religious needs of their employees are accommodated appropriately.”