When to Disclose Sabbath Observance During the Hiring Process

Imagine for a moment that you are at the tail end of an interview with a nurse manager, and things have been going well. There were no awkward silences, and the nurse manager even smiled and laughed a few times. You are feeling confident until the nurse manager starts explaining the culture of the unit and the demands of the job, including one 12-hour weekend shift (Saturday or Sunday) per month. The nurse manager then asks if you have any issues with the demands of the job.

As a Sabbath-observant Jew, you fear that an employer who learns about an applicant’s need for scheduling accommodations may opt to offer the position to a similarly qualified candidate to avoid the inconvenience. Do you tell the nurse manager that as an observant Jew your religious beliefs prohibit you from working for a 25-hour period between Friday night and Saturday night? Do you simply respond that you have no concerns, since that is technically not a lie because you can work every Sunday? Perhaps you think better of relying on a linguistic loophole knowing you will invariably have to disclose your immovable scheduling conflict, placing your reputation or even your job at risk.

When and whether to disclose your Sabbath observance raises ethical, practical, and legal questions whose answers are complex and situation-specific. Some of the factors to consider include …. LOGIN to have full access to this article

By: Jack L. Newhouse, a lawyer with Virginia & Ambinder in New York representing workers in a range of employment related matters.