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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Youth at Work

A is Incorrect

The manager may not refuse to make a workplace change for Sam’s religious practices just because he is concerned that other employees might make the same request. Even if the manager grants Sam’s request, he does not have to grant similar requests by other employees seeking only to enjoy the weekend with their friends.

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21. Sam, an Orthodox Jew, was recently hired as a salesperson for a large department store chain. Sam informed his manager that he must be home before sundown on Fridays to observe the Sabbath. His manager refused to grant Sam’s request not to work on Friday evenings and Saturdays, even though Sam had found a co-worker to swap hours. Did the manager discriminate against Sam?

  1. No. The manager did not discriminate against Sam by denying his request for a schedule change. It is hard to find employees who are willing to work on Friday nights and Saturdays. If the manager gives Sam these days off, then other employees will want those days off to hang out with friends.
  2. Yes. The manager discriminated against Sam by denying his request for a schedule change because employers must grant employee requests for schedule changes unless the requests are completely unreasonable.
  3. No. The manager did not discriminate against Sam by denying his request for a schedule change.  Employers are only required to provide schedule changes for major religious occasions, and the Sabbath is not considered a major holiday.
  4. Yes. Sam has been discriminated against because employers must make workplace changes for the religious practices of employees, unless it would be too costly or disruptive to do so. Because Sam has found someone to cover his shifts, it is unlikely that granting his request would be burdensome for the employer.