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November 12, 2015 3:47 pm

Jewish Spa Owner Forced to Pay Employee $20,000 for Refusing to Let Him Work on Sabbath

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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The owner of  Spa Liv Zen allegedly refused to let a Jewish staff member work on the Sabbath. Photo: Facebook.

The owner of Spa Liv Zen allegedly refused to let a Jewish staff member work on the Sabbath. Photo: Facebook.

The Jewish owner of a spa in Canada is being ordered to pay his Jewish employee $20,000 for allegedly refusing to let him work on the Sabbath, and then firing him for speaking out against the policy, Canada’s Global News reported on Tuesday.

After being fired in 2012 from Spa Liv Zen in Montreal, hairdresser Richard Zilberg filed a human rights complaint with help from the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR), according to the report.

Iris Gressly, the owner of the spa, disputed Zilberg’s claims, saying the accusation is “just sad because it’s all fabricated.” Gressly said she has Jewish staff members who work on Saturdays, but she removed Zilberg from the schedule because of a personality conflict with another worker.

However, the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission sided with Zillberg, and recommended Gressly pay him $20,000 in material and punitive damages.

“I am proud to be Jewish, but no one has the right to tell someone how to express their spirituality,” Zilberg told Global News.

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