Jewish Woman Sues Dallas County, After Job Offer Rescinded Over Shabbat Observance
A Jewish woman is suing the Dallas County for discrimination, claiming that a job offer she received was rescinded when she said that she would need to leave work early on Fridays due to Shabbat observance, The Dallas Morning News reported.
According to the report, the lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, claims that Isabel Baldaras was offered a job in data management at the Resource Development Division of the sheriff’s office three years ago. But, her request to leave work on Fridays before sundown was met with “disbelief and confusion.”
In her suit against the county for religious discrimination and a violation of her civil rights, Balderas is seeking between $100,000 and $1 million in damages.
Balderas allegedly proposed various ways she could make up for the time, but — according to her lawyer, Robert Lee — the sheriff’s office would not even discuss these “different options.”
Lee said, “She was willing to do all kinds of things. She said, ‘I’ll work extra days; I’m only asking for this little thing.’ They gave her no slack. Whenever she originally told them about her requirement, they said, ‘Well, we’re going to have to think about that.’ The next day they just pulled the offer.”
He added, “From our perspective, we don’t know why they couldn’t just adjust her schedule. There are plenty of religious Christians that need off on Sundays. You’re required under the law to provide reasonable accommodation to persons of religious belief. I don’t understand why that could not have been provided here.”
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that Balderas did not “mention her need for religious accommodations during her preliminary interviews. After she was offered the position, Ms. Balderas requested to be off work during the Jewish Sabbath every Friday evening and Saturday.” The Sheriff’s Department said her request would conflict with the requirements of the job she was offered.
The department said in the statement, “The Data Manager is ‘on call’ 24 hours/7 days per week because the jail is a 24 hour/7 days a week operation. During an emergency, Ms. Balderas would have been unavailable because she does not drive or use the telephone for work during the Sabbath.”
Melinda Urbina, a spokesperson for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, said the department does not know exactly many Jews it employs, because it does not ask for a person’s religious affiliation when examining potential hires.