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College policy for documenting attendance for individuals who miss work in order to observe religious holidays or holy days is governed by both our contract [Article II, K, 5, page 55.] and Chapter 151B, Section 4, 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws. I've reprinted both below.
Former Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Nancy Ferguson explains it this way:
The contract and Massachusetts state policy require that we afford employees the opportunity to observe certain major religious holidays. When we do this, we either require employees to make up the work time in some manner or use available paid leave such as personal days (or those who earn vacation may use that time). This is done to avoid giving employees in one religious group more paid time off than those in another religious group (which could be seen as discriminatory).
An MSCA member who chooses not to be charged personal leave needs to demonstrate that the work schedule time missed is made up in some manner. How this is done is between the faculty member and his/her department chairperson. A note on the attendance that says "alternative work assignment" would document this appropriately. For faculty members, giving an additional assignment to students and then spending time evaluating it or meeting with students about meets this requirement, provided that the Department Chairperson approves.
Chapter II, Section 4, ( page 55 ) of our collective bargaining agreement: " In accordance with Chapter 151B of the Massachusetts General Laws, employees shall be permitted to observe religious holidays consistently with the requirements of their religious tenets."
General Laws of Massachusetts:
CHAPTER 151B. UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGIOUS CREED, NATIONAL ORIGIN, ANCESTRY OR SEX
Chapter 151B: Section 4 Unlawful practices
Section 4. It shall be an unlawful practice:
1. For an employer, by himself or his agent, because of the race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, which shall not include persons whose sexual orientation involves minor children as the sex object, genetic information, or ancestry of any individual to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment such individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.
1A. It shall be unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to impose upon an individual as a condition of obtaining or retaining employment any terms or conditions, compliance with which would require such individual to violate, or forego the practice of, his creed or religion as required by that creed or religion including but not limited to the observance of any particular day or days or any portion thereof as a sabbath or holy day and the employer shall make reasonable accommodation to the religious needs of such individual. No individual who has given notice as hereinafter provided shall be required to remain at his place of employment during any day or days or portion thereof that, as a requirement of his religion, he observes as his sabbath or other holy day, including a reasonable time prior and subsequent thereto for travel between his place of employment and his home, provided, however, that any employee intending to be absent from work when so required by his or her creed or religion shall notify his or her employer not less than ten days in advance of each absence, and that any such absence from work shall, wherever practicable in the judgment of the employer, be made up by an equivalent amount of time at some other mutually convenient time. Nothing under this subsection shall be deemed to require an employer to compensate an employee for such absence. ""Reasonable Accommodation'', as used in this subsection shall mean such accommodation to an employee's or prospective employee's religious observance or practice as shall not cause undue hardship in the conduct of the employer's business. The employee shall have the burden of proof as to the required practice of his creed or religion. As used in this subsection, the words ""creed or religion'' mean any sincerely held religious beliefs, without regard to whether such beliefs are approved, espoused, prescribed or required by an established church or other religious institution or organization.
Undue hardship, as used herein, shall include the inability of an employer to provide services which are required by and in compliance with all federal and state laws, including regulations or tariffs promulgated or required by any regulatory agency having jurisdiction over such services or where the health or safety of the public would be unduly compromised by the absence of such employee or employees, or where the employee's presence is indispensable to the orderly transaction of business and his or her work cannot be performed by another employee of substantially similar qualifications during the period of absence, or where the employee's presence is needed to alleviate an emergency situation. The employer shall have the burden of proof to show undue hardship.
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