School Sued Over Muslim Teacher's Pilgrimage


#1

The federal government sued a suburban Chicago school district Monday for denying a Muslim middle school teacher unpaid leave to make a pilgrimage to Mecca that is a central part of her religion.

In a civil rights case, the department said the school district in Berkeley, Ill., denied the request of Safoorah Khan on grounds that her requested leave was unrelated to her professional duties and was not set forth in the contract between the school district and the teachers union. In doing so the school district violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate her religious practices, the government said.

School Sued Over Muslim Teacher’s Pilgrimage - CBS News

Hey boss hire me and btw I need to take a few months off to go on vacation during your buzy season


#2

What part of

unrelated to her professional duties and was not set forth in the contract

…don’t they get?


#3

In doing so the school district violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate her religious practices …

Subject to some common sense requirements - e.g. that she gave that school reasonable notice given the duration of her absence - she probably has a case. I’m surprised this school was this un-PC, but the law that protects her protects religious people of all varieties.


#4

Yeah, she should really have made it clear before accepting the job that she would want to take this time off. If she did, she has a case - if not, I think the school is in the clear.


#5

I have to agree here. If she did not let the school know about it then she is in the wrong but unfortunately she has a case becasue of the CRA, but if the school was aware and denied it then she is in the right and has a case. Either way she has a case whether she was in the wrong or not.


#6

I can’t agree. She has all of summer vacation to do something like this.


#7

The Hajj took place this year Nov 14-18th.

The date changes every year and is based on the Islamic Lunar calendar.


#8

It probably shifts approx. 10 days per year just like Ramazan.


#9

If I understand correctly, nothing precludes doing a personal haj at any time in the year. But there is a centuries-old tradition of doing haj at a particular time of the year, meaning her experience would be enhanced both by being with many other hajjis and by events organized for hajjis during that season. IMO, provided she gave the school ample time and information to arrange for a substitute teacher for the duration of her absence, the school is simply in the wrong. Because she asked for unpaid leave, accommodating her would cost the school district very little at worst (and may actually be slightly cheaper, depending on how much the substitute would be paid and on what terms).


#10

Thanks for the clarifications you posted while I was composing, PolPlu and ConLib. So, 5 days of haj, two days each way for travel and allowing another 2-5 days for less than optimal travel routing and rest, she could have been away for as little as 2 weeks.


#11

No not with the teacher but with the sentiments about the teacher should have told the school.


#12

To me this is something that should be made into a big deal though. If anything it is neglect by the teacher for not telling the school ahead of time.


#13

The school said it wasn’t in the teacher’s contract to take that time off.
How many of YOU have had to find a competent fill-in for entire two weeks at the last minute?


#14

Well, you were saying that she has a case. That’s what I don’t agree with. Although I admit that I haven’t looked into it in great detail.


#15

The school said it wasn’t in the teacher’s contract to take that time off.
The Civil Rights Act trumps the contract. The union cannot, through a contract, sign away teachers’ civil rights.

How many of YOU have had to find a competent fill-in for entire two weeks at the last minute?
I’m not say it would be trivial, but public schools use set curriculum, require teachers to chart out lesson plans weeks in advance, and school districts typically have a pool of credentialed & experienced substitute teachers. If a 1-month notice had been given, with diligence the school district could have had plenty of time to select a sub, have him/her get oriented with the teacher wanting to go on haj and possibly even have him/her meet the students. Arranging and scheduling substitute teachers is almost daily life in large public school districts.


#16

In the end, the school should have been aware of this person’s plan to take a pilgrimage when they hired her and made provision if they thought she was worth hiring;in the mean time the school has to find someone to fill in for her.

Then what can the school expect next from her? Will she want to protest the food in the cafeteria or get mad over the American flag? These are questions I would think of if I had to hire her.


#17

So, to accommodate her desire to perform the hajj, the students’ education must suffer? You and I know that temporary subs don’t even get into the flow of the classroom right away.
If I asked my boss for time off to go to the Holy Land for my religion sake, during our busiest season, he’d flip backwards. I don’t get to take vacations, not agreed to by my employer, not many do. She has an agreement to teach the full school year, she needs to abide by that agreement. If her religion is that important to her, she can always find another job upon her return.


#18

Then what can the school expect next from her? Will she want to protest the food in the cafeteria or get mad over the American flag? These are questions I would think of if I had to hire her.

This speculation is based on what? She practices her religion? That post is an Olympic-level leap of logic.

Don’t like the law, Tiny, change it. But don’t forget that this very same law protects Jews (and SDA Christians) from employers who would maliciously schedule them every week during the Sabbath and protects Christians from employers who would maliciously schedule them every week during Sunday AM (my son had to confront a manager over this and the manager backed down).

BTW, “… during our busiest season …” tendentiously makes your supposed analogy less analogous. If schools have a “busiest season” it would either be the start of a school year or the end of a school year, not mid-November, which was this year’s haj.


#19

[quote=“PeteS_in_CA, post:18, topic:28578”]
This speculation is based on what? She practices her religion? That post is an Olympic-level leap of logic.

Don’t like the law, Tiny, change it. But don’t forget that this very same law protects Jews (and SDA Christians) from employers who would maliciously schedule them every week during the Sabbath and protects Christians from employers who would maliciously schedule them every week during Sunday AM (my son had to confront a manager over this and the manager backed down).

BTW, “… during our busiest season …” tendentiously makes your supposed analogy less analogous. If schools have a “busiest season” it would either be the start of a school year or the end of a school year, not mid-November, which was this year’s haj.
[/quote]That speculation is based on the fact that she asked for special privileges by taking off during the school year

Speaking as someone who was a store manager I would think twice in hiring someone who made demands right off.

As for my thinking it reflects what I have seen with Muslims coming in and asking that they be given certain dispensation and their outrage I have seen in the news about Muslims asking for all kinds of things like foot baths and to pray five times a day and their abhorrence of certain meat.

There are other things as well.


#20

I cannot change any laws, and you know that. It is not against the law to require anyone to work the designated hours described for their job. If a job requires you to work on Sunday, do it or change jobs. The Law doesn’t guarantee that you can take a job,and start setting your own terms. You rent yourself to the company, and you do your job. If the boss promised you to never work you on the Sabbath, that’s different. But, if you get all Summer off, Christmas,New Years, and 11 other Holidays/year, plus two weeks sick leave and 1 week of personal time, that is sufficient. Trying to black mail your boss into extra special treatment is a common practice for Muslims.
This is no different than the Muslims taking a job in a grocery store and then, refusing to scan pork or alcohol.
Think, Pete. When does first semester end? Around November 21. Do I really need to explain why that is a busy time at school for teachers and why substituting a teacher during this time could be counterproductive?