Legal Question in Employment Law in California

During unemployment eligibility interview I was told that I may not get benefits because I am not available to work on Shabbat for religious reasons. I am available Sunday through Friday ( 6 out of 7 days). My employer said that I was terminated due to performance and that does not interfere with eligibility per interviewer.

When answering continued claim "was there any reason (other than sickness or injury) that you could not have accepted full time work each workday? Do I answer NO? Is Saturday considered workday? (so I should answer yes) Do I explain? What do I write?

Asked on 12/26/12, 3:51 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Christians are allowed a religious accommodation for Sunday, Jews for Shabbat. Even the EDD is supposed to honor that, and not penalize you if you say 'no' and explain it is for religious reasons. If they deny you, there is an appeal. If it comes to that, feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 12/26/12, 3:54 pm
Charles Perry Law Offices of Charles R. Perry

I concur with Mr. Nelson.

In addition, you have an obligation to answer all questions truthfully. One strategy might be simply to leave the "Yes or No" boxes blank, and write in that you are available Sunday through Friday, but that you cannot work Saturdays because it is Shabbat. You can also ask for guidance at the EDD as to which box to check. Given the ambiguity in the term "workday," I doubt that anyone could criticize you for taking this approach.

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Answered on 12/27/12, 4:50 am

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