Should religious objections excuse employees from customary/prescribed job f(x)'s?

dreamregent

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
4,344
Coastal Florida
Should religious objections excuse employees from customary or prescribed job functions?

Muslim flight attendant suspended

A Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended by ExpressJet for refusing to serve alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith.
As far as I'm aware, it is at least customary for flight attendants to serve alcohol. I don't know if the employee manual states specifically that "alcohol" is served by flight attendants or if it simply says "refreshments" are served. However, I don't believe religious objections are a sufficient basis to excuse employees from job functions like this. Certainly, religious expression should be allowed but only where it's not precluded by the requirements of job functions. For example, I have no problem with her wearing a hijab while she is serving the alcohol. The appearance of flight attendants is typically prescribed by the airline in terms of a uniform but I don't see any reason why appearance requirements should go further than that. Perhaps they do at some airlines but I don't really see justification for it with that type of position. So, one could argue a hijab is an acceptable accommodation but a burqa would not be acceptable if it covered the uniform. However, I fail to see any reasonable basis for allowing her to refuse to serve alcohol if that's one of the duties of the job.
 
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Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,740
Australia
If your religious beliefs are so strong then you should not apply for a job that will compromise them. She should be sacked. This reminds me of the news story about the woman in the USA who would not issue a marriage license to a gay couple. fair enough she should be given the boot, but to put her in gaol is way over the top.
 
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Lawnmowerman

Ad Honorem
Mar 2010
9,842
If it's a reasonable part of the job then they have no excuse. Expecting a flight attendant to serve alcohol, or bacon is normal and they have no grounds for objections and should be fired immediately.

If however they were required to wear a bacon bikini, whilst lighting customers cigarettes from flaming pages of the Koran then they would have a very good case for religious objection.
 

dreamregent

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
4,344
Coastal Florida
If your religious beliefs are so strong then you should not apply for a job that will compromise them. She should be sacked. This reminds me of the news story about the woman in the USA who would not issue a marriage license to a gay couple. fair enough she should be given the boot, but to put her in gaol is way over the top.
They can't just give her the boot because she's an elected official. The court held her in contempt for not carrying out her prescribed duties (i.e. her office is the statutory instrument of government which is assigned to create marriage licenses). As punishment, the court could only make her pay a fine or send her to jail. From what I understand, people were lining up to pay any assessed fines on her behalf so one could hardly call that option a punishment. Hence, the judge really had no choice but to send her to jail.
 
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May 2013
1,696
Colorado
If your religious beliefs are so strong then you should not apply for a job that will compromise them. She should be sacked. This reminds me of the news story about the woman in the USA who would not issue a marriage license to a gay couple. fair enough she should be given the boot, but to put her in gaol is way over the top.
After Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk, an elected state constitutional officer, was sentenced and taken out of the courtroom, the Judge offered a compromise: he would release her if she promised not to interfere with her staff complying with the law. Her lawyers said she would not do that. She not only won't issue licenses, but she is forcing her staff to break the law. Once she was out of the way, they started to issue the licenses - all except her son. It needs to be pointed out that all she had to certify is that they have met the legal requirements for marriage. She is not certifying that she approves. She was adding a religious test to marriage which is not legal in the US.

Her staff's desire to do their job was highlighted when the first gay couple got married. The man behind the counter reached over and congratulated them with a smile.

In addition, the KY Attorney General is investigating her for taking a salary and then refusing to do what she was paid to do. Is the woman so ignorant that she could not see when she took her elected office that gay marriage was a good possibility? Is she such a bigot that she can't see others in her community might interpret the Bible differently? She has a duty to serve all the citizens, not just fundamentalist Christians.

In KY, only the legislature can remove an elected official. The legislature meets in January. They can change the job duties, but it is unlikely she would be impeached.

I don't know about other countries, but in the USA, contempt of court is serious. And contempt of a Federal Court is something that not even Richard Nixon risked when the Supreme Court ruled on the tapes.

Here is the oath elected KY officials which includes Kim Davis took and then violated when she took her elected office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of _______ according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God."

The Supreme Court of the US said gay marriage is legal. The Governor of Kentucky and the Kentucky Attorney General said it is the law in KY. Kim Davis left the judge no option but to jail her since as he said and was pointed out above, others would pay the fine for her.
 
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May 2013
1,696
Colorado
While businesses must make a reasonable accommodation in the US, that can vary with the size of the business and what is being asked of it. If you take a job which you know will violate your religious beliefs, you should think hard before taking the job. When I worked in government, I had to work on every fifth Saturday for years - though I could walk to work. In the winter, I might not get home until after sunset on the Sabbath. I was fortunate that I did not have to work on the High Holy Days, but I had to use my annual leave. That was fine with me. I consider it a privilege to live in the USA and I think G-d understands.

It will be interesting to see if those who support Kim Davis are also going to support the Muslim flight attendant.
 
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Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,740
Australia
Thanks for the information team. I had thought that Kim Davis was just a low grade public servant who would not issue the paperwork. ( I suppose fighting a duel means you cant work for the government ? :) )
 

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,094
The flight attendant's lawyer stated -
"What this case comes down to is no one should have to choose between their career and religion..."
I thought faith was more important than a career? If her faith is so strong, she shouldn't be in an area serving alcohol in the first place, whether she is doing it herself or not. Swapping that part of her job with her fellow flight attendants is not demonstrating a sense of faith, only assuaging a sense of responsibility. She should of left her job voluntarily long ago.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,058
Italy, Lago Maggiore
If someone can't do the job, he should get another job.
Overall when it's not a personal act. I don't know you, but I had occasion to fly with Qatar Airways sometimes and the hostesses wear something to cover just a side of the head. A kind of 1/4 of veil. Anyway alcohol is served on board without problems ...