Saint Petersburg, FL asked in Employment Law for Florida

Q: I'm a Jew, & I was fired from my job because I had to take VTO to assist my Elderly Rabbi to prepare for COVID19

I'm a Jew, and I was fired from my job because I had to take immediate VTO to assist my Elderly Rabbi to prepare for the COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic. I informed them it was a religious obligation and essential that I abide by it due to my faith. I was told that didn't matter and that I should've given prior notice. Obviously there's no way I could've gave such notice to the unexpected. Was I wrongfully terminated?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: It appears that you were NOT fired because of your Jewish faith. The employer says they fired for not giving notice and for not requesting PTO or sick leave before you left the job. If that is so, then your employer has done nothing wrong. Why? Because Florida is an “at will” state, which means employers are free to hire, transfer, promote, demote, suspend, reinstate, fire and rehire employees for any reason at any time, i.e., “at will.”

On the other hand, If you still feel you have been discriminated against by actions of your supervisors or co-workers at your workplace because of your race, age, gender (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation or national origin, religion or marital status or because you have a disability, or feel you have been retaliated against for speaking out or asserting your legal rights in the workplace, you should contact the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) here in Tallahassee. The FCHR's toll free telephone number is (800) 342 8170; or you can call them at (850) 488 7082. If you do call, ask to speak with an Intake Counselor. You do not need a lawyer; but retaining one before you file a charge of discrimination will help get through the bureaucracy.

Alberto Naranjo
Alberto Naranjo
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Miami Lakes, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Based on the facts it does not seem like a case unless your being treated differently than other employees outside your faith or if there is a reason behind you stating that it was a religious obligation. Even if it is a religious obligation you still have to show your accommodation is reasonable and that it would not prejudice the employer.

Jay P. Lechner Esq. agrees with this answer

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