Assistant Professor, School of Labor and Industrial Relations. The author acknowledges the assistance provided him by Robert VonGruben and Eric Chapman, research assistants at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations, MSU. Thanks are also due Professors Jack Stieber and Michael Borusfor their helpful comments and suggestions.
In the United States there are several million employees with religious beliefs which prevent them from complying with various management directives or methods of operations. The most frequent employment problem is that of Sabbath observance. Workers who are Seventh Day Adventists, Orthodox Jews, or members of the Worldwide Church of God are required by their religion to refrain from working between sunset Friday through Saturday sundown. Similarly adherents of various Protestant sects such as the Faith Reformed Church will not work on Sunday. Additionally members of these faiths have certain holidays or attend annual religious retreats which require time off. When an employer schedules regular or overtime production on these occasions, these workers face serious employment problems. They are confronted with the Hobson's choice of either complying with management directives and thereby violating their religious convictions or refusing to work and thereby jeopardizing their employment. Those workers who refuse to work a scheduled shift are subject to suspension, reprimand, loss of seniority and even discharge.