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Yelp Fired Manager After He Didn't Take Calls, Check Email 24/7, Lawsuit Claims (mercurynews.com)
268 points by gnicholas 26 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 231 comments



We ALL need to be against 24/7/365 “on call”. I did it for 10 years. It not only sucks, but I’m confident hurt my overall productivity. If it’s not important enough to hire a backup or two, it’s simply not important.


One of the advantages of getting older is that you develop some perspective on crap like this. I never check work email at night or on weekends anymore. And I just tell people "no" when they ask me to do work stuff on a weekend. The world continues to turn.


I think this is why companies often have a bias towards hiring naive younger workers- they're more likely to be cool with being exploited and haven't established any healthy work/life boundaries yet.

I worked somewhere that "specialized" in hiring younger newish grads from the midwest. They'd bring them out to the Bay Area, pay them way under market. The people would put in a year to two years at $75k working 70 hour weeks before they realized it was an intolerable and nonsustainable situation. The younger people were more excited over the free lunch and pingpong tables to care about comp, let alone making rent.


Not only that, but those hours put your hourly rate around $20. Which is about what you would make as an assistant manager at a retail store in the Bay Area.


> The people would put in a year to two years at $75k working 70 hour weeks before they realized it was an intolerable and nonsustainable situation.

Indeed unsustainable, but getting that experience and Bay Area connections might quite likely be a rational career choice for these grads


This is a variant of "do it for the exposure", which is deeply disrespectful to anyone's time and dignity. Regardless of whether or not you are right in terms of money made, society as a whole would benefit if we stopped playing that particular rigged game.


Negative, those things are external to any employment position and not something an employer is entitled to discount salary against.


Employers can do whatever they want if the employees are OK with it. When I was 22 I signed up for a job that kept me in hotels 250 nights a year. I loved it but now with kids would obviously tell any such job to go fuck itself.


Sure, but companies have a heck of a lot more bargaining power than individuals. I don't think "this didn't cause large numbers of employees to quit" means that this was okay.


Do you think it's better than spending that same time socializing with coworkers outside of work? Because it isn't.


this sounds like Palantir to me


sounds like the game industry


I'm not old, but I tell people that I don't check work emails when I go home. But I give the offer that they can call me. Usually this leads to almost never being contacted on the weekend or after hours, and only really when there is a dire need. People seem to be more hesitant to call or text than send an email, and so this method works. But that's part of the implied condition. I think it is fair to call someone after hours for emergency type stuff, but not typical work stuff.

Doing this has facilitated a healthy work life balance and I believe leads to better productivity.


I basically do the same. We are critical development/operational support so I have to have on-call support and do so 1 week at a time with primary and backup (I'm implied 2nd backup if not higher in chain). But my google voice number is only listed on the official schedule website and not in the company contact database so only those that need to know know.

The best thing that ever happened to me was company implementing a lockdown policy so that email/chat/... are only allowed from company assets so I am totally cutoff from work via my phone except through that list and the best part is it by the companies own policy. I only get true emergency calls now.


Sounds like a good pitch for recruiting!


It might be my bubble, but it is also a more of a team spirit thing. I live in a country with good laws regarding employment and my young coworkers in my team don't work outside office hours and don't read email. In other teams in the same business unit of the company it is a whole different story.


It is more tricky when some of this will show up on your perf review and the bonus/RSU grants reflect it. I’ve seen some people circumvent all this by taking sick days liberally and just tow the company line. Any other advice to handle thes situations nicely balancing work/life/$$$ ?


As a result, you're probably the first to go in a layoff scenario. Maybe it's not a problem for you but for many, it is tough to regain footing after getting axed.


Any company that lays me off for having boundaries is a company I don't want to work for. Work-life balance is pretty much the _only_ think I optimize for when looking for jobs now. I'm fine being flexible once in a while but if the default assumption is that I will be available on slack every night, I'm not gonna stay there.


Agree completely but the amount of decent companies with work-life balance is rare in the Bay Area. If they exist, they won't for long.


Startups I agree, but working for a more mature company makes it much easier to find this balance. Also, unlimited remote means that I don't _have_ to find a job in the Bay Area. The tradeoff there though is that Non-Bay companies offer much less compensation.


Depends entirely on management priorities. I make sure to never take a job that judges me on butt-in-seat or mean-time-to-email-response. That way I can build skills that actually matter and take that to my next role whether it be at my own startup, in mgmt at bigco, or as a consultant.


People who value work-life balance won't be happy working there anyway.


Ah yes.. Logan’s run logic.


What I can't reconcile is the prevalence of this type of abuse (along with many other types of abuse) when we're supposedly hard to find, hard to replace and hard to retain. I don't expect the rock star treatment, but there are a lot of positions that are MUCH easier to find people to fill who are treated with a lot more respect or, failing that, at least not with utter contempt.


You have to come to an understanding that the reason a place is shit is because of this. Revolving doors are actually worse than just a morale problem. Someone quitting isn't just leaving your company, they're taking everything they know about the systems at your company.

My favorite move in tabletop strategy when doing disaster recovery is finding the most important person at the table and going 'Bang, you died driving to work, you can stay but you cannot help anyone'


>hard to find, hard to replace and hard to retain

You only get this line if you're a US citizen as justification as to why H1B visa quotas need to be increased. If you're here on an H1B visa, you get reminded daily that your replacement is waiting back in your home country, you can be replaced with a single phone call, and you better have a plan to get all of your things and family back to your home country quickly when you get bounced.


> You only get this line if you're a US citizen as justification as to why H1B visa quotas need to be increased. If you're here on an H1B visa, you get reminded daily that your replacement is waiting back in your home country, you can be replaced with a single phone call...

No offense, but that doesn't make any sense. Right now, there's a lot of paperwork and the H1B lottery that means it's non-trivial to get a new H1B worker into the country. Increasing the quota would make it easier for the employer to act like H1B would be replaced on a whim, and actually create the scenario you're complaining about.

> ...and you better have a plan to get all of your things and family back to your home country quickly when you get bounced.

Knowing a lot of H1Bs, this is the real reason H1Bs can be exploited and bullied. Their visa is tied to the employer, which gives that employer way more leverage over the employee than over a citizen or permanent resident.

The real way to fix these problem is to keep the quota, but remove the control the employer has over work visas (by making them easily portable). That way, the employer can get the talent they need if there's really a shortage, but they'll have to pay market salaries and provide reasonable working conditions to the immigrants.


Sounds like slavery.


Indentured servitude with a new name basically. My friend works in the health industry and I can confirm this. The second he got his greencard, everything changed as far as employer abuse. Now it's just the typical abuses we all deal with.


My question is how common this abuse is in software, vs. elsewhere.

If I had to guess based on my friends/family, first jobs are horribly abusive for 100% of med school graduates, 90% of law graduates, and 20% of software engineers. That 20% is common enough that we hear about it all the time, but it's still much less frequent than other high-paying jobs.


I’m not 13 years into my career (three under the table at a hometown co and ten professionally), I’ve had the mom and pop shop experience, the big corp experience, and currently the startup experience. I’ve found the same abuse everywhere, but it’s not always caused by top level executives. I think the abuse in software has a dynamic that other industries don’t have. A lot of product managers and IT managers don’t understand what we do (and I say that on behalf of devs, ops people, the whole works). They want to look good for their executives and they overpromise, or they start treating us like garbage because they are afraid not to have anything to show in their weekly updates with their boss.

When product managers and CIOs don’t have anything to show, we get tossed under the bus. I’ve never been a fan of the dev unionization movement, but I’m becoming more of a fan it by the day. I think of how I feel after having given my all to my career, and I can’t imagine how young H1B professionals feel when the abuse they put up with is far worse than what I’ve dealt with.


Unionization doesn't have to be inherently bad. It is possible for well disciplined unions to be an overall positive force for both sides of the coin. Sure, there are plenty of negative aspects to unions but there's also a lot of negative aspects to having limited bargaining power. I personally believe growing rampant abuses in this industry is starting to warrant it.


I can't quite sort it out either, but sometimes it feels like we are treated like favored pets.

We're expensive, sure. Difficult to replace, absolutely. But you know that sooner or later you will be, and in the meantime you only get limited privileges.


I don't think that analogy works at all. Pets are cheap and easy to replace, but a favored pet is unlikely to be replaced sooner or later.


Abuse happens and goes unchecked because people are willing to take it for large sums of money. Or in some cases keeping a job. Doesn't help that there is no punishment for treating people like sub-humans either.


One easy answers: We're suckers.


You guys should come to New Zealand... working outside of your work hours is not cool here. More and more companies expect only 37 hours per week... a new trend is 4 days workweeks.

Nobody checking their email or phone after work... Ridiculous.


Ummm, we want to but New Zealand ISN'T TAKING PEOPLE ANYMORE! I looked into it =( it super bummed me out.

EDIT: I should say, from the U.S. anyway.


Whatever do you mean? I still see NZ companies hiring USA engineers.


Yes, but now with restrictions on buying property. (It makes it much less of an attractive proposition.)


Same in the UK mostly (although there is a bit of this culture in London). I remember my first job, it got to 5pm and my boss gently prompted me to go home. He was happy to let me stay if I wanted to on occasion to finisb something off, but made clear that it wasn't expectsd or the norm. It's something I've stuck to ever since.


yeah. totally agree. i call bullshit on being available 24/7/365 when you're the only person doing the job. even if you ignore the implications this has on you, this is a terrible idea if only from the redundancy/keeping the lights on kind-of perspective where if you quit you're left with 0 people doing an "important" job.


I've told bosses in the past "Your payslip says you're paying me for 40 hrs a week, which was the agreement when you employed me. I think it's reasonable to ask for the next 20hrs at time and a half, and anything beyond that at double time. So if you want me on duty 24x7x365 - to start you'll need to pay me our current agreed 40hr amount, plus 20 hours at time and a half, and 108 hours at double time to cover a full 168 hour week. That's 7.15 times as much as the 40hr/week rate to get 24x7. To get "365", which means I'm also on duty during public holidays, sick days, and vacation days, that'll come out to 8.5 times the 40hr a week rate. Let me know when that rate starts applying to my paycheques, and I'll then stop turning my phone off whenever it suits me outside office hour."

Interestingly, none of them have ever taken me up on that, but it's often lead into productive discussions about how you need at least five people to properly cover a 24x7x365 roster - and that the cost of that is quite reasonable - if you genuinely need 24x7x365 coverage.


My leisure time is worth far more than 1.5x or 2x, with each additional hour being exponentially worth more than the last.

I would be giving up time with family, excercise (my health), and my other goals, so I don’t see how a simple 2x would even begin to cover the loss of those.


Yeah - of course that's all true.

My numbers are based around super-hard-to-argue-against standard employment law for other professions where I live. If you work as a waiter or a shop assistant that's the sort of overtime deal you get automatically.

When you push that minimum legally required remuneration to its obvious extension if your boss is asking you to be on duty 24x7, it's difficult for them to argue a reasonable case _down_ from having to pay you 8 times as much money.

The primary aim of that line of reasoning is to point out "if you need my job covered 24x7, employing and paying another four people with my skills to make sure it's covered for the 130 hours a week I'm not in the office is a more reasonable and less expensive way of doing it than trying to make it all my problem."

Quite often, in my experience, it's because the boss suddenly has their first customer ever suddenly demanding it, and they've not done the maths already and been immediately able to tell the customer "Sure. That'll cost you about ten times as much as a weekday business hours only support. When would you like us to start billing that? I'll need that in writing, of course."


Nothing like having to break away from a dinner with your family and switch your brain into work mode. Honestly, the worst things about this industry is everything they do to ensure you have no personal life outside of work.


Being a backend engineer with occasional on-call responsibilities, this is an unfortunate reality I've had to deal with.

My religious tradition (reformed evangelical christian) takes the sabbath pretty seriously, as stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith:

> VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

Notice the last statement makes an allowance for acts of mercy and duties of necessity, which would certainly include things like being a Doctor or a Policeman, but I've always considered my duties as a Software Engineer being on-call to be borderline on whether or not they meet that standard. Certainly my employer(s) have thought they were necessary... But who are we kidding. Most of this stuff isn't life or death and waiting till Monday to get it fixed probably wouldn't be that big of a deal.

(I should probably mention that although these are the standards of the Church I attend they're rarely enforced in any meaningful sense - being treated more as a matter of personal conscience than of discipline... and particularly when it comes to the Sabbath)

Still I wrestle with it... not having a firm enough conviction to quit a job where I've had to do it, though if it were an every week thing, particularly if I had to regularly miss the Sunday service, I almost certainly would.

If I could make one plea, it would be for tolerance and compromise. I realize religious beliefs can be pretty weird in this day and age, but they're often sincerely held, and there's usually a solution available if the company is willing to consider it. (for example I'm just fine being on-call any other day of the week, and a surprising oddity of the reformed tradition, we don't really have religious holidays: https://heidelblog.net/2017/03/the-westminster-divines-on-ho...)


Isn’t there some sort of religious discrimination potential if your employer refuses to accommodate a limited concession that doesn’t preclude you fulfilling your duties?

Or some such?


having on call responsibilities and being available 24/7 are significantly different. On call is a structured rotation that is usually explicitly part of a job description.


Yes this is true. And it's a good thing to remember to ask about when applying for jobs (and seems like an entirely reasonable thing to want to know before you sign up)

It was helpful when I had a more structured on-call rotation and once we switched to 3 day shifts I was able to trade off shifts so I almost never was on-call Sunday morning.

Unfortunately I was also team lead on a temperamental system for a while which had many production issues, so despite the on-call rotation, things often escalated. It was not a fun year.

That said it only happened a few times that year, though the constant threat of it wears on you after a while, and it's precisely that issue which lies at the spirit of the Sabbath. It's not really a day off if you're worried about the pager going off all the time and constantly checking slack, even if nothing is happening.


Unpaid work is unpaid work (wage theft), full stop. You're not paid for 40 hours and then "heh, you're on call outside of 9-5 for the next week, but that's what you're paid for". Call it what it is: wage theft.


That's not how many employment opportunities work. Allowances, expenses--hell, even salaried compensation are all ways in which non-40hr-work-week positions are handled. Whether compensation/interaction in these circumstances happens ethically versus exploitatively depends on many things, but not "whether or not someone works more than 40 hours a week for a non-hourly-wage position".


not disagreeing with you but, in the USA the default is you're owed overtime if you work more than 40hrs. The law list exceptions to that. "Salaried" is not a valid exception. The exceptions are explicit jobs and have various requirements. Unfortunately IIRC computer professional is one of the exemptions. Should maybe ban together to remove that exemption.

Also apparently being paid > $100k a year is an exception

https://www.flsa.com/coverage.html

California in particular has stricter exception laws

https://www.worklawyers.com/exempt-vs-nonexempt-employees-ca...

Lots of companies have mis-understood this law, thought just claiming "salaried" was enough and were later found in violation.

I'm not sure how I feel about the $100k exemption. One the one hand I hate it. On the other hand I'm being paid $100k+. Seems like a trade off. Like would I rather have $99k + overtime pay or $150k. The advantage to $99 + overtime might be the company manages better since they don't want to pay overtime. On the other hand they could just budget $150k internally and still demand the overtime and maybe end up only spending $130k total or something.

Of course as a programmer I'm already exempt apparently which feels kind of BS, same with artists. But I should probably research any counter arguments.


Indeed, I’m pointing out the labor law deficiency that needs remediation. Your employer should never be able to have unconstrained demands on your time for a fixed wage.


I'm not sure I understand. You're saying that it's not possible for someone of sound mind to decide to trade a technically-unconstrained probability distribution of demands on their time (with exit rights) for a fixed wage, no matter how high? And that two parties should be prohibited by law from making this exchange?

I'm not making a general-purpose argument against regulating nominally consensual labor agreements, but this specific example is an awfully weird context to decide that people need to be protected from themselves. I've had jobs where the exact hours of oncall rotations weren't explicitly spelled out in the contract, and I made the decision that the oncall rotation was worth the fixed pay. Trading fixed amounts of money for probability distributions is all over the economy (this is what insurance is), and you're the first person I've ever heard suggest that it should be prohibited.

Would you mind elaborating on why you think this is so egregious that people need to be protecting from themselves so they don't engage in it?


We’re not talking about unique agreements. We’re talking about below or at market rate compensated roles where you’re expected to be available after hours, on top of a 40 hour work week. No, I don’t think that should be allowed unless you’re compensated specially for the time you’re on call, as well as when you need to actively engage while on call (removing exempt employee status for technology professionals). This is no different than roles like nursing, or IT in developed countries with robust labor regulations.

People don’t need to be protected from themselves. They need to be protected from employers, who have more power than labor (through at will employment and a lack of collective bargaining). Simply because some are willing to work for free does not mean that technology professionals as a whole should accept such a poor arrangement, because it’s been normalized as such by employees who accept it.

European countries are moving in this direction (prohibiting email access outside of business hours), and I hope to see more progress on this front in the US over time.


The attitude that salaried employees are expected to be available at all hours is such a US labour market thing.

So much so that a (US headquartered) multinational I worked for gave up trying to get their EU employees to do weekend on call, as the team didn't want to get treated that way.


salaried software engineers (in california at least) are exempt employees and thus don't have to be paid overtime.

I'm pretty sure if you are not an exempt salaried employee or you are hourly then you do in fact have to be paid for the time on call that you are actually working and if you are not that is in fact illegal and wage theft.

Anecdotally I have a friend who works in IT that is on call and does get paid for all the time on call that he is working.

as another response said on call can or can not be exploitative depending on how it's setup but that is a separate issue from whether it's wage theft.


> Anecdotally I have a friend who works in IT that is on call and does get paid for all the time on call that he is working.

That's actually very common, at least around here outside of the startup scene. There's usually a fixed amount for just being on call, plus an hourly rate (often higher than regular rate) for actually having to do anything.

Last time I managed a team of on-call staff, they all got paid for 2hrs at their regular rate for each weekday and 4hrs for each weekend day they were on call (whether they got called or not), plus time and a half for every hour they worked (rounded up to a minimum of 1hr per incident, so three 5 minute "quick fixes" counted at 3hrs at time and a half, which on a weekend meant 7hrs additional pay). We tried to make sure everyone by default got a rotation of a week of weekdays, a single two day weekend, then a whole week of just office hours. They were free to negotiate swaps amongst themselves as needed (it there was not required payroll adjustment), and to request schedule adjustments as needed (mostly for when the change would need payroll to be informed). We ended up averaging fewer than 10% of on-call shifts getting paged. Everybody was happy enough with that arrangement - it was about as good as any on-call arrangement I've ever been part of.


I've done that for production support on an ecommerce site we developed before fully handing off to the client. Spreading the on call work as much as possible among the dev team I think is ideal, because it adds a shared incentive to employ good practices during the day to reduce incidents after hours.

Taking the shifts was optional and had a similar pay structure.


I guess you'll have to be in such a situation to find out. I have an ancestor who moved to America as an Orthodox Jew in the early 1900s. He would find work on Monday, and work until Friday. If the employer wouldn't let him take Saturday off, then he would quit and look for a new job. This cycle eventually stopped when he got hired by a seventh day Adventist.


One of the (sorry, few, IMHO) secular ethical benefits of religious behavioral allowances is the "sacred weekend".

The thing is, what if I claimed membership in a religion that only allowed me to work 3 days a week? ;)


> they're rarely enforced in any meaningful sense

Your church sometimes enforces its rules about what you do outside of church in a meaningful sense? How does that work?


Many churches practice church discipline, for example with the PCA:

http://www.pcahistory.org/pca/3-443.html

It mostly applies to leadership, but also members. Possible "censures" include:

- Admonition (ie calling someone out for their behavior) - Suspension from Office (you have to stop being a deacon) - Suspension from the Sacraments (you can't take communion anymore) - Excommunication (you can no longer be a member of the church)

In practice I have only ever seen it done publicly in 3 circumstances:

1) Someone in leadership committed adultery and has to step down 2) An elder was excommunicated after abandoning his wife and children, leaving the church, and pulling a "Leaving Las Vegas" to live a life of total debauchery 3) A church leader was suspended due to abuse of power

Leadership cases are kind of obvious, because the damage they do can be so bad. I mean it's bad enough in a workplace, but it can be devastating in a Church environment, which functions a lot more like a family. The Presbyterian process might seem a bit overblown or silly, but I appreciate the care with which they take these issues.

I think a culture of discipline is generally useful in a Church, at least when it comes to admonition and encouragement. Adultery, drunkenness, gossip, greed, anger, ... all of these things affect others, and church discipline is attempting to admit to that problem rather than simply ignoring it. When it's done in a loving, winsome way, it can be a good thing. I screw up all the time, sometimes without even realizing it, and being called out for it can help me do better.

Though I also recognize disciple can be, and often is abused. It can really turn cultic fast, and I've seen that a little in some communities, especially when it focuses on minor, tangential issues (like the music you listen too, the way you dress, your politics, etc...)

So to recap, in the PCA, I've only really seen it with leadership. In the OPC church I briefly attended, it was suggested that if you were unwilling to baptize your children, or made a habit of working on Sunday, you may not be able to join the church, since that was a clear and important teaching of the church and you would clearly be violating it, hence, discipline.


I was more wondering how they would even know you were breaking the rules. I guess they rely on members all being part of the same community and policing each other?


Yes it's supposed to start with another member bringing it up in private, then maybe reaching out with several members, then bringing it before the elders, etc.

Missing church every Sunday would be particularly visible, especially in a very small church, so a pastor might want to have a conversation about it.

I suppose most other issues would come about from other members... in the most extreme cases the church should hand the individual over to the civil authorities (a husband beating his wife, a leader molesting children, etc) Sadly that sometimes doesn't happen.

But there are a lot of edge cases and wisdom issues, so generally if there's not a clear teaching, the church will leave it as a matter of conscience.


[flagged]


Christians have observed a first-day (sometimes "eighth-day") Sabbath since the second century AD. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabbath_in_Christianity#Early_...


Most. So, their are two days the Sabbath (Saturday, 7th day of week) and the Lord's Day (Sunday, 1st day of week). The Catholic Church changed to the Lord's Day[1]. Some Christian Churches don't recognize the authority of the Catholic Church to change the day of worship. Two examples would be Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists.

1) reasons http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2...


A long history for some practice does not make it right.


when you're not slumming it online, do you speak old english, middle english, or early modern english?


very old english, that pretends to be modern but sounds dumb ;)

Actually, I'm not very good speaking english. It's not my first language, if anything, it's the last one. :P


I can’t speak for Christian interpretations, but the Torah is very clear on this subject, and Saturday is Shabbat. Because of how Jewish law is structured that leads to it being from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. I’m also under the impression that Christians more or less don’t follow the original law, and that includes Shabbat.

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

As I said, what I don’t know about the daily practice of Christianity could fill volumes, but outside of some obvious cherry picking of Leviticus it seems that they have their own thing going. Certainly a whole host of laws from keeping kosher to keeping the sabbath seem to be on a pick and choose basis, which has always made me a little cynical about the choice to pay lip service to Leviticus only where homosexuality is concerned.


There is nothing in the Bible to change the day from Sabbath to Sunday. As others have already noticed that happened literally hundreds of years later.

As for homosexuality that is actually specificity mentioned several times in the New Testament. It is one of the very few Levitical laws expressly mentioned as still in force in the New Testament. However, in fairness those same passages also call out those who are adulterous, slanderous, greedy, and drunkards with equal force.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV) 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.


Yeah, that’s a far cry from telling people to stone them to death, drop a wall on them, or some other nonsense. “You’re not going to heaven” is a nasty thing to say to someone, but it’s a long way from roadhauling them or denying them employment. Having said that I do find myself intrigued at the notion of Christians making cholent and employing a Shabbas goy.


Exactly. There is nothing in the Bible that authorizes the change. In fact, the Catholic Church has said so explicitly and takes pride in being the one who changed it from Saturday to Sunday.

Them having tradition AND scripture as foundations for doctrine, have no trouble reconciling their practices with their sources. And I think they're consistent on this point.

What I think is a big problem with doctrine in all protestant denominations is claiming they follow the Bible as they know it, and accepting without a secound thought this legacy of the church they separated from.

One can make up all sorts of fables about why Sabbath is Sunday now (such as that Jesus resurrected on Sunday) to justify it, but the plain truth is that the change originates with the Catholic church.

(I don't understand why the downvotes to my comment above. I'm just pointing out some interesting things, not trying to say someone "You're not going to heaven")


> However, in fairness those same passages also call out those who are adulterous, slanderous, greedy, and drunkards with equal force.

whoa there, you are saying that the actual bible doesn't just harp on homosexuals, and that their might be a more balanced moral view of sex/sexuality than what is attacked as a straw man on Saturday Night Lies and the Ellen Degenerate show?

sheesh. i don't know what you are smoking, but I certainly want some.

random fact: saturday is subbota and sunday is 'resurrection' day in russian.

christian practice of treating sunday 'as the sabbath' doesn't mean that the sabbath itself has changed.. true christians should fast/rest on saturday in preparation for sunday (the '8th day' of the 'new age' of christ)


> Certainly a whole host of laws from keeping kosher to keeping the sabbath seem to be on a pick and choose basis, which has always made me a little cynical about the choice to pay lip service to Leviticus only where homosexuality is concerned.

do the jewish people stone adulterers where you live? how about homosexuals? soothsayers/crypto-pagans/fortune tellers? stay out of the synagogue when you have ejaculated until taking a ritual purity bath?

etc, etc, etc.

not to harp or seem anti-jewish, but picking and choosing happens everywhere - it's the broader context and totality of being pure/godly/etc that is important, which is (kind of) Jesus' whole point.. (see also healing on sabbath, etc)

but yes, christians are not concerned generally with fulfilling the law of moses as a whole.. that said there is tradition and rationale around what guides christian morality/ethical code, though various groups do/do not pay attention to this accordingly..


do you stone adulterers where you live? how about homosexuals? soothsayers/crypto-pagans/fortune tellers? stay out of the synagogue when you have ejaculated until taking a ritual purity bath?

Me? No, but I make “lapsed” seem observant. Plenty of Jews do all of what you describe though, it’s why you’ll find a mikveh in most communities for example. Jewish orthodoxy is sort of famous for being extremely into all of the rules, right down to mixing certain fabrics. Still I take your overall point, and certainly it doesn’t seem to be anti-Jewish or anything of the sort.


Most Christians believe it was moved to the first day of the week, as the confession states:

> VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him:[34] which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week: and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.

Citing:

> [35] GEN 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 1CO 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. ACT 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

(though Seventh Day adventists believe it should still be on Saturday)

There are a range of views regarding the Sabbath in the Christian tradition, as well as the rest of the original law. A common view amongst the reformed is that the law is divided in 3 parts: the civil law, the ceremonial law and the moral law. On this view the ceremonial law was fulfilled in Christ, the civil law can stand as a guide for how we structure government (but not necessarily a requirement), and the moral law is still binding for Christians.

Somewhat related to the three uses of the law:

1. The usus politicus sive civilis, the political or civil use, is a restraint on sin and stands apart from the work of salvation. It is part of God's general revelation or common grace for unbelievers as well as believers. 2. The usus elenchticus sive paedagogicus, the elenctical or pedagogical use which confronts sin and points us to Christ. 3. The usus didacticus sive normativus, the didactic use, which is solely for believers, teaching the way of righteousness.

Some view the Sabbath as part of the ceremonial law, and others that it is part of the moral law. For a longer-form discussion on this issue consider Michael Horton's "Are we Required to Attend Church on Sunday": https://www.whitehorseinn.org/2011/12/are-we-required-to-att...

> As I said, what I don’t know about the daily practice of Christianity could fill volumes, but outside of some obvious cherry picking of Leviticus it seems that they have their own thing going.

I wouldn't entirely disagree with this, Christians often ignore the Old Testament... but there's a very rich tradition of Old Testament commentary related to Biblical Theology. Consider Peter Leithart, interpreting the Old Testament in light of the New: https://youtu.be/vr1oH4hpl5Q?t=358

> Thomas can spin off sanctuary typologies with the imaginative verve of an Origen or a Bede. According to Thomas, “the figurative reason” for the specific features of the tabernacle and its furnishings “may be taken from the relation of the tabernacle to Christ, who was foreshadowed therein.” Christ is typified by the “propitiatory” or mercy seat, which, in Thomas’s understanding, was borne aloft above the cherubim, figuring the angels who exalt Jesus. Jesus is the new ark: “As the ark is made of setim-wood, so is Christ’s body composed of most pure members,” and as the ark is overlaid with gold, so “Christ was full of wisdom and charity, which are betokened by gold.” The golden pot inside the ark represents Christ’s “holy soul” and is full of manna because “all the fullness of the God” dwells in Him. Since Jesus possesses priestly power, He is fittingly represented by the rod of Aaron; since He is a lawgiver, He is foreshadowed in the tables of Torah. That “Christ is signified by the candlestick” is evident from John 8 (“I am the light of the world”), and the seven lamps on the stand represent the seven Spirits of God that come from the Lamb in Revelation. Jesus is the table of showbread, since He says “I am the living bread.” Christ is figured by the two altars of the tabernacle, since all our works are offered to God through Him. In Christ we offer our afflictions to God on the altar of holocausts, and perfected Christians offer their spiritual desires to God in Christ “on the altar of incense.” Nearly every detail of the tabernacle serves as a type of the incarnate Son in His Person and His work of propitiation and intercession.

In particular his commentary on 1 and 2 Kings is fantastic.


The article says he claims he was fired based on his religion, but it doesn't sound like it was related to religion. It just so happened it was a religious holiday. Maybe there is more to the story, but it sounds like he could just as well have been golfing.

Either way, Yelp sounds absolutely toxic if they required him to be available like that. Expecting anyone to be available 24/7/365 is absurd. Set up an on-call rotation. Establish escalation chains. Designate backups. These are basic procedures. If this guy was so critical that there was no-one else in the company that could do whatever it was, hire someone else.


Companies have an obligation to make reasonable accommodations of employee's religions. Not expecting them to be available during major religious holidays is well within the bounds of reasonable accommodations. In addition, unless there is more to the story, it doesn't seem believable that someone acting in good faith wouldn't be able to work something out; I mean Christianity only has two major holidays.

This is excluding extreme cases like if someone claimed that their religion has dozens of major holidays a year. To my knowledge, no major religion does that.


>>This is excluding extreme cases like if someone claimed that their religion has dozens of major holidays a year. To my knowledge, no major religion does that.<<

Let me speak to you about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster...

https://pastafarians.org.au/pastafarianism/holidays/


glob glob

(happy Talk Like a Goldfish Day)


Paradoxically, the US, where many people take religion very seriously, has quite few religiously based public holidays. Switzerland, on the other hand, is much more secular, but some cantons literally have a dozen Christian public holidays, e.g.: Epiphany (Jan 6), St Joseph's Day (Mar 19), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Corpus Christi, Assumption of Mary, All Saint's Day, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Christmas Day, and Saint Stephen's Day.


Quite few as in zero that employers are required to give their employees. Any country with even one required public holiday has way more than the US.


I support having mandatory yearly vacation day minimums (such as 20, 30, 40 days), but I don’t see the point of requiring specific dates off. Some people prefer certain dates, others don’t, and supply and demand can easily sort out the extra pay required to have people work on days that more people would want off.


Oh, I agree completely especially given a binary choice. Too bad in America we have neither.


They also don’t respect Sunday. In the US it’s normal that all stores are open on Sundays and holidays.


Why do I need to respect Sunday? No cities in Asia shutdown on Sunday AFAICT or at least not the ones I've been to. I found it truly annoying when I visited some European cities and nothing was open on Sunday. It felt like they were all under the thumb of religion instead of free to do what they wanted.

Here in Japan Sunday is arguably "Shopping Day". Several areas of the city close one of the major streets from like 12pm to 5pm to pedestrians only for shopping including Shinjuku, Ginza, and Akihabara.


I don't care if you respect Sunday or not. What I am saying is that it's a little strange that a Christian nation is not respecting Sunday.


Are you referring to the US as a "Christian nation?" If so, I think you're sadly mistaken.


That's what it seems to me. Religion is much more dominant here than in Germany where I come from. For example I don't think a non-christian presidential candidate would have much of a chance.


I hate to sound like whining, but I feel jealous and cheated that people with professed religions get special benefits. It's not as though people who don't profess their religions, or those without specific religious affiliation don't have inner needs of their own which they also need time to tend to.

I feel like there should be an "average" compromise and everyone should get the benefit. That way there is no awkward incentive in any direction.


I feel the same. Everybody should get the same benefits independently of religion.


Thus national holidays ("holy days").


I completely agree, Atheists should get the same treatment as religious people for dates and practices that are important to them.

Obviously I don't want to tell other people how to practice their beliefs, but I never understood why, for example, Atheists don't put up memorials to important humanists (or something else meaningful to them) next to the Nativity scenes and Menorahs that people put up in public during the Holidays.


Adopt a form of magical thinking, and you too can get extra days off. ;)

But seriously, if you're on a flight that still has meal service, ordering ahead-of-time the kosher or veg/an option usually means you'll get yours first. :D


Judaism does that, but most of my Jewish coworkers have just taken PTO for the minor ones. Purim is fun but no one expects off for it!


I think if the company is open for business on a day that you want off for a religious holiday, then that's why companies give PTO, so that people can have flexibility in how and when they don't show up to work when everyone else does.


It's not that he was fired directly "because he was religious", exactly; it's about whether Yelp discriminated against him by violating the following (from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm):

> The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion.

IANAL, but I believe there is a difference between a person being unavailable due to golfing vs. due to a religious belief, since a person's religious belief is a protected category whereas their sporting activities are not. If it was company policy to shave one's head, but an employee's religion prohibited them from doing so, the company would be discriminating against that person even if they required everyone to shave their heads (caveat: assuming a shaved head was not actually important to the employer's business). Otherwise, a company could "uniformly" apply a rule that "just so happens" to only apply to a specific religion (or gender, or any other protected category), and use that to effectively ban those who fall under that category.

Now, in this specific case, I don't know if he'll be able to show that supporting his beliefs wouldn't have caused Yelp "more than a minimal burden", but I think that's what he's going after.


Ya that makes sense. I wasn't thinking of it that way.


it doesn't sound like it was related to religion

"Lee also told Weathers, who is pursuing a degree in ministry leadership and has a severely autistic son, that he didn’t care about Weathers’ religious holidays or children, the suit claimed."


Discrimination would be saying “I’m making you work this weekend because it’s a religious holiday for you”. Saying “I don’t care about your religion and personal circumstances, I demand you work or ill fire you” isn’t discriminating, it’s just shitty.


While I get why that distinction sounds like it matters on a message board, for all of the HNers that will be in a position to hire and fire people: if you make a practice of mentioning holidays when firing people, your lawyers will make a practice of settling lawsuits on unfavorable-to-you terms.


This. If these emails were sent as described, the terminated employee can expect a tidy settlement with the quickness.


Maybe the management/managers have been getting away with behaviors such as these for so long that they forgot sending such emails to terminated employee is a bad/expensive idea.

Either way, whether religion is involved or not, discriminating or not, from what I've seen so far, Yelp needs to pay.

Just so that it can be a lesson to others.


I don’t disagree: it’s a dumb thing for an employer to say exactly because it leads to suits like this.


It seems to me that would be basically the same as an employer saying "We don't discriminate against your religion, we just won't allow you to practice it". If that's the case then protection from religious discrimination has no meaning.


This is exactly to the point. The post to which you are replying is an example of a sort of argument that is not uncommon: it is formally correct, but it completely ignores the subtleties of human interaction.


Neither of us are lawyers, but it's my understanding that the law is that an employer must made accommodation for religious services.

Several people my wife works with are deliberately scheduled around their weekly religious obligations.

Perhaps an actual lawyer on HN can chime in, or post a helpful link.


> Neither of us are lawyers, but it's my understanding that the law is that an employer must made accommodation for religious services.

Employers must, on request, make reasonable accommodation (one which does not impose an “undue hardship”) for religious practices. [0]

Nothing in the narrative provided (which comes from the lawsuit filed by the fired manager) seems to indicate that an advance request for an accommodation was made.

An employer can fire you for failing to perform job duties due to a religious observance for which you did not ask for an accommodation, as I understand it.

[0] https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/workplace_religious_...


No, discrimination isnt just changing the norms for an employee because its a religious holiday, its about not respecting that employees right to worship as their religion calls them to.


Reasonable accommodations can be made, but if availability during those times is a core job duty (known beforehand), then the firing is eminently justified.

If your religion says you can't handle pork and you take a job at a pig slaughterhouse, the employer should not be obliged to pay you to do nothing.


This is true, but as you just said: it has to be a core job duty made clear before hiring. I highly doubt that Yelp would tell candidates "you cannot have a single day without checking your email." There may be some implicit "this is a startup, so work hard" mentality, but that won't hold up in a court of law.


> There may be some implicit "this is a startup, so work hard" mentality

Yelp isn't really a startup by any reasonable standard.


I dont think 24/7/365 however is a reasonable thing to demand


Sure, but you can't sue over that unless that wasn't demanded of people with other beliefs, which doesn't appear to be the case.


You wouldn't sue and claim to have been discriminated against; the lawsuit would claim that your religious obligations could have been reasonably accommodated by the company but were not.


Sure you can: it's not a defense to say "but we discriminate against everyone"


It is. "Discriminate against everyone" is oxymoronic.


Religion, like sex, is a protected class.

By your argument you could tell a pregnant woman “sorry, you have to work, all the men have to keep working.”

Regardless of what you personally believe that’s likely a losing case in a lawsuit.


Not sure about your jurisdiction, but political affiliation is also a protected class.

Together with religion there isn't possible to have rule or requirement which isn't against someone political or religious view. Anti-discimination laws must therefor limit themselves, often down specific scenarios or looking at the reason why a requirement exist rather than the requirement itself.

For example, if I hold the political view that working more than four days a week is inhumane, that carries just as much as protected class status than if I believed Sundays are declared by god as the day of worship and rest. If a company fired someone for not showing up on the fifth day, they have just as much right to do so as fire someone for not showing up on Sunday if that is what the employment contract says. Local employment laws naturally applies.


> For example, if I hold the political view that working more than four days a week is inhumane, that carries just as much as protected class status than if I believed Sundays are declared by god as the day of worship and rest.

It's true that in some jurisdictions (including CA), political affiliation/activity is a protected class, meaning employers cannot discriminate against or refuse to hire people because of these affiliations/activities.

But that doesn't necessarily extend to political beliefs. Otherwise, employees could just say that any of their beliefs (I should have a 2-hr lunch; employers should provide free breakfast/lunch/dinner) are political in nature and then get whatever they want. Unlike religion, which may not be the basis for discrimination and must be reasonably accommodated, I'm not sure that any of the political stuff has to be accommodated. I think employers just can't discriminate on this basis.

I could be wrong here, and am happy to be educated. But I'm a former lawyer and have followed this type of things somewhat during the last decade.


That's nice, but business necessity is, by law, an affirmative defense to discrimination claims, including those based on disparate impact. Whether the defense succeeds or fails depends on the facts of the case and a court's interpretation thereof.

It's literally part of the Griggs v. Duke Power Co decision from which the disparate impact standard arose. The 1991 Civil Rights Act puts on defendants the burden of proving "that the challenged practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity".


If my employer ever fired me for not working on a holiday I hope they email to say “I don’t care about your religion, I demand you work or I’ll fire you.” My lawyer would probably salivate at that. I’m pretty sure the law says the opposite of what you’re claiming - that’s blatantly admitting you won’t make a reasonable religious accommodation.


If I was in that position I'd fail to see a distinction.


It's discrimination if the guy was fired in part for missing work on that day.


That's how you wind up with zero sympathy from a potential jury.


Workplace discrimination suits are vanishingly unlikely to end up before any sort of jury, at least in the US.


But what a jury would do can still be relevant.


"I don't care about your religious holidays or children" in this case likely should be interpreted to mean "your exact reason for not doing your job doesn't matter".


It may mean that to the employer. To the employee, it means "I'm a psychopath with zero human empathy."

And to the jury, it probably means "You lose; pay the man."


I could understand a coverage rotation, but having to be available 24/7/365 is basically being treated as a slave. He might not win his case - and unless his attorney is working on a percentage of a win - he should get a second opinion.

For his own health and well being as a family, he needs to find new employment. Find a job with a more reasonable work/life balance and adapt lifestyle choices to fit the budget.

I know a chaplain that has been at the bedside of many people during their final hours. None ever thought that they should have spent more time at the office.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

https://www.workplacefairness.org/religious-discrimination

10. Can my employer prevent me from taking off on religious holidays or my day of worship?

You should start by letting your employer know that there is a conflict between your religious observances and your work schedule. When your employer's workplace policies interfere with your religious practices, you can ask for what is called a "reasonable accommodation": a change in a workplace rule or policy which would allow you to engage in a religious practice without conflicting with your work obligations.

Your employer is required to provide you with such an accommodation unless it would impose an "undue hardship" on the employer's business, defined as an accommodation that is too costly or difficult to provide. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who oversees these types of claims, has interpreted an undue hardship to mean anything more than regular administrative costs, anything that reduces workplace efficiency or impairs workplace safety, anything infringing on other employees' job rights or causes those said employees' to carry the accommodated employee's share of burdensome work, or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation. Thus, employers are obligated to try in good faith to resolve the religious conflict, or identify an actual monetary or administrative expense. It is important for you to work closely with your employer to find an appropriate accommodation.

If the accommodation would impose a burden on the employer that cannot be resolved, the employer is not required to allow the accommodation. Many accommodations, however, do not require any monetary or administrative burdens. Whether your employer can accommodate your religious practices will depend upon the nature of the work and the workplace. Usually, your employer can allow you to use lunch or other break times for religious prayer. If you require additional time for prayer, your employer can require you to make up the time.

Employers must give time off for the Sabbath or holy days except in an emergency, unless the employee works in key health and safety occupations or the employee's presence is critical to the company on any given day. This time off does not have to be paid, however. If employees don't come to work, employers may give them leave without pay, may require the amount of time to be made up, or may allow the employee to charge the time against any other leave with pay, except sick pay.


Thank you. Would this then hinge on whether or not he discussed it with them before hand? I'm obviously not a lawyer.


The fired him (retaliation) for asserting his religious requirements (according to him), and specifically told him they didn't care about his religious requirements now or in the future.

(Link to case https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19221564 )

That's bad.


Yes, the real problem is that Yelp was attempting to prohibit the guy from doing anything else outside of work without even paying him for it! Unfortunately this is no longer even illegal, as overtime laws were destroyed through the "exempt" loophole. So he is (we are) left grasping at straws for something specific that was illegal to have prohibited rather than expecting congress would actually do anything for workers and address the general problem.


I agree with you. That said, this case is likely just forcing a payout. While Yelp would be unlikely to lose the case, even if he did say all the crap the former employee claimed, they certainly don't want this as national news for several months while it makes its way through the courts.


My first thought as well. The religious aspect of the issue should be irrelevant. Expecting your employees to be available at all times is absurd regardless of belief and shouldn't need any religious defence.


As it happens, this particular incident does appear to have a religious-observance aspect. It is also the case, however, that religious observances have specific protections in US law (stemming from the 1st. Amendment), making this aspect of the incident particularly suitable for making a case against the employer. If this is so, then, regardless of whether one is particularly religious, one should reflect on the implication that demanding 24/7/375 fealty is not regarded, prima facie, as abuse.


The first amendment has nothing to say about private discrimination on the basis of religion.


I see what you mean - it seems to be title VII of the Civil Rights Act that is relevant here - or did you have some other point in mind?


If the lawsuit fails he could always create a employer review site, post a bunch of negative reviews of Yelp, and then offer to remove the offending reviews if they purchase an annual subscription.


Sooo.... Glassdoor?


Is there evidence of Glassdoor charging companies to get better reviews?


I personally know that Glassdoor magically vanished my not so critical review of my past employer (I said nice things about the company and employees, but called out how they mislead/screwed me in immigration matters)


We should all spend a moment to really take in the fact that Yelp is a website that has reviews of restaraunts and other services. That this person needed to be on call 24/7 for a review website.

Not a hospital. Nothing was burning down. Not even transportation or infrastructure related.

A review website. 24/7/365. For a review website.


It’s a big site, so any downtime is a lot of lost revenue. I’m sure the cost of 24/7/365 coverage is justified.

The trouble is that they apparently don’t want to pay for actual 24/7 coverage with a defined on-call schedule. They just try to declare it into existence.


I think you're sending this same message, but just to rephrase it - 24/7 coverage is important to the business due to the continuous traffic they receive, but 24/7 coverage has to be provided by multiple people and/or teams; it shouldn't and can't be an individual responsibility.


That is indeed what I was implying, but it’s good to state it explicitly.


> On Good Friday last March, Weathers’ boss, head of security Rick Lee, sent him an email about an employee in Yelp’s Phoenix offices seeking after-hours access to a building, the suit said.

Expecting employees to respond to non-emergencies off hours is an excellent way to get them to become less responsive.

When everything is urgent, nothing is.


Who would have thought that the company that extorts businesses to bury negative reviews isn’t very nice to work at?


I always see this claim in Reddit and sensationalist news articles, but I have never seen actual evidence of this. One would think that given the (supposed) frequency of this, an email or phone transcript that lines with this allegation would have leaked or passed on to some media outlet by now?


Yelp is terrible. They actually extort business to show good reviews as well


Indeed!! Yelp specifically makes me glad that I'm in a B2B sort of business and not subject to their extortionate behavior.


What did his job description say? Did it clearly specify having to be on call 24/7/365. That would be key especially for a position that seems to require that kind of response.

Otherwise this is a bit like "unlimited vacation". Yes you can take it, but you never know when they'll come back and say "looks like you're not applying your full potential, so we're gonna go ahead an put you on probation".

> Lee also told Weathers [...] that he didn’t care about Weathers’ religious holidays or children, the suit claimed.

I think this is mostly about naming and shaming. As the lawsuit could involve a discovery phase, Yelp might want to settle to avoid revealing to the whole world their management "culture".


Even if it is written on a contract isn't being on call at every seconds of your life against human rights? It seems to be near slavery condition.


The headline is at least somewhat misleading. The plaintiff did not work in software, they seemed to have worked in physical security. It sucks that there was work to be done on a major religious holiday, but it seems reasonable to me that there's an expectation you are 'on-call' outside of normal work hours for a role like that. I'd really like to know what the job expectation was going in.


it seems reasonable to me that there's an expectation you are 'on-call' outside of normal work hours

24/7/365 isn't considered "reasonable" outside of the SV bubble. If you need that kind of coverage, you have two or three people available, sometimes on rotation. Even doctors — people who save lives, not tally reviews — aren't on call 24/7/365.

No company should have a single employee that essential. Will Yelp shut down if he gets hit by a bus?


That's not reasonable, hire a second person.

Unless you're paying the person 24/7. Even then, it's absurd.


  it seems reasonable to me that there's an
  expectation you are 'on-call' outside of
  normal work hours for a role like that
If that's the case, I'm sure the job advert will have said it explicitly and this will be a slam-dunk for Yelp.

If it didn't? Well, if the job advert writer didn't know about it, it's hardly reasonable to think applicants would know.


Are there certain fields where people are implicitly required to be "on call"? As a software dev (in an oncall rotation) even when I'm not on call I still am expected to check in on things and be available during non-business hours.

Same with the IT folk in my company.

However, does the CFO have this same requirement? Couldn't there be some financial-related mishap in the middle of the night? HR? What if an employee, say, assaults some other employee off-site in the middle of the night? Sales guys? ie, one of their customers is irate off-hours. The president?

I've never bothered to ask.


Forgetting the merits of the suit for a minute, if Yelp really needed 24/7 access, why not hire another security manager to work nights? If his job is so mission critical do you really want to risk him not being able to wake up at 3am in the morning from a phonecall?


> why not hire another security manager to work nights

Money


Is it really religious discrimination though? It's pretty clear that the plaintiff's boss didn't care why he was incommunicado, only that he was. It doesn't appear that he displayed any religious hostility or intolerance, the outcome would have been the same if the employee was an atheist who decided to spend time with his family on a Sunday.


Yes, it is.

You're correct that any employee who decided to not answer their phone for a period might attract the same displeasure, but we have laws in the US that protect people who are observing religious holidays and he was, in fact, observing one. I guess Yelp could argue that his observation was unreasonably extreme, but that seems unlikely to pass muster.


> we have laws in the US that protect people who are observing religious holidays

Do we?

From: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_Holidays.htm

> California law does not require that an employer provide its employees with paid holidays, that it close its business on any holiday, or that employees be given the day off for any particular holiday


United States > California.

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm

"The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion.

Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices."


> unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business

No employer is required to approve PTO for religious holidays if something needs to get done.

There are tons of employees who get scheduled to work on Christmas all the time.


So, if an employee was not at work, not expected to be at work, do they need to apply for and get PTO to avoid getting calls in that off time?

It seems pretty clear that if the employer expects response in a certain time frame, the employee is engaged, and there may be issues even for salaried overtime-exempt employees with keeping an employee engaged 24/7/365.


That's the more important point in my opinion. The demands weren't reasonable regardless if it was a religious holiday or not.

Saying you were observing a religious holiday will definitely earn you sympathy from the public but probably not legal relief from the courts.


If the plaintiff is saying that they are observing a religious holiday, then it is up to the defendant to show that this is a hardship for the business or otherwise not a reasonable accommodation. This is pretty standard stuff, with lots of case law to back it up.


Not so sure about that. I am not a lawyer, but from what I've read, the courts are very particular about religious discrimination cases and part of the burden of proving religious discrimination is to demonstrate a policy or behavior that has the effect of singling out individuals of a particular faith.


I do not think the argument is that his religion was discriminated against /in particular/, but that the working environment was anathema to the reasonable observation of religion. That said, I am not a lawyer either!


If this person was observant Orthodox Jewish, and you expected them to be available on Shabbat, it'd be a clear violation of religious freedom - I don't see why a particularly religious Christian shouldn't get the same exemption. It's not reasonable to expect someone to be available 24/7 unless they were on call for this particular spell, as part of a rotation.


Just because he was fired for trying to take Christian holidays, doesn't make it anything but religious discrimination. Forcing a Jew to work on Yom Kippur or a Muslim on Eid would be the same.


Yelp's legal obligations are more complicated than "treat everyone the same." The Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to make reasonable accommodations of employees' religions.

https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/workplace_religious_...

>Examples of common religious accommodations include:

>a Catholic employee needs a schedule change so that he can attend church services on Good Friday

Is being out of contact for 12 hours on Good Friday an "undue hardship" for the business? I'm not a lawyer but I'm skeptical.


Yeah I don't think it will get anywhere but that seems to be the only way they can see to fight since (I'm guessing) requiring someone to be on all call at all hours isn't illegal.


As a matter of fact, it is in various countries: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_disconnect.

In France it exists since 2001 and had been reinforced by the last labour law. I'm not sure about the actual consequences.


Yeah but this is in America where those laws don't exist, though I wish they did


"didn't care why he was incommunicado"

That would make it discrimination. By law, you must recognize and respect a person's religious beliefs in the workplace.

Not caring, is equivalent to saying, "you will be unnecessarily put at a disadvantage at the workplace because of your religious beliefs."


No, it actually wouldn't. The law prevents people from being treated differently because of their religion. No law obligates employers to respect religious beliefs. You simply can't treat them differently because of them. That's certainly not the case here.


> No law obligates employers to respect religious beliefs.

This is incorrect. For example, see title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious practices must be accommodated. There are various exceptions, but this is the general rule. There's an enormous amount of case law supporting this. Telling employees that they must be available 24/7/365 is prima facie violation of this law.


That's nonsense. Accommodated doesn't not mean removing the conflict. Telling employees they must be available 24/7 if they are exempt and/or paid for their time is perfectly legitimate. In response, an employee must tell the employer when/what time they need off for religious reasons, and the employer can offer a number of "accommodations" including voluntary shift swapping.

Again, "case law" overwhelmingly favors employers here. Here's the EEOC on the matter:

"The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business."

A minimal burden is an enormously low requirement.

> Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.

Voluntary shift substitutions is a remedy, when combined with other remedies. And even then, it was only held that voluntary shift substitutions aren't solely enough in specific cases and that was decided in January of 2018 in Tabura v. Kellogg.

There is vastly more nuance involved here then "He asked for it off the same day he wanted it off, thus Yelp is in the wrong."

Yelp is a crap company, but that's not the same thing as violating the right to practice religion.


The language from Yelp pretty much spells out their case:

> "Yelp respects religious and personal responsibilities and makes reasonable accommodations when requested" (emphasis added)

I haven't read any court papers. My guess is their defense will hinge on them trying to prove the plaintiff didn't adequate accommodations.

Doesn't pass the smell test if you ask me. If it's important enough to fire somebody over, it's important enough to have a clear escalation strategy in case one person isn't available.


No comment on the merits of the case, but the headline is really hiding the ball. Instead of "Manager" they should say "Man Tasked With Granting Out-Of-Hours-Access to Office".

I.e. this wasn't just some random manager, but evidently someone they needed to be available to grant out of hours access to their offices.


Unless that was his only job function (unlikely), I dont see why the headline should be that granular.


Because it means one of two things.

One, Yelp is incompetent enough to make it someone's literal job to open the office in a timely manner at all hours without thinking to have a conversation first that establishes an SLA for that.

Two, they did have such an agreement, but the employee is claiming a religious exception supersedes any such agreement.

Both would be interesting to discuss, but the article doesn't have any details.


If there was an important function that relied on the availability of a single employee, with no bus factor, that rather implies Yelp is incompetent to me.


article != headline

I don't disagree that more information is often better than less, but you haven't really made the case for overstuffing the headline.

Imagine a potential developer equivalent - "man-tasked-for approving-pull-request" : reads to me like an absurd amount of detail for the title of a general audience news article... even if failing to merge in a PR is 100% the reason said developer was contacted beyond standard office hours in the first place.


Is there no one to delegate this task to when the employee is unavailable?


True 24/7 can be really disruptive. I've had consulting gigs where some people would rather call me at 3AM then talk with the person next to them in the Ops room. Irritating as all can be, having a sleep schedule disrupted. Same customer ended up having you come in for a normal work day, cater supper, have you do evening deployments/change control/bug fix, then the late night/early AM stuff on prod would start till 5/6AM. You could possibly grab a couple hours of sleep before starting the 'normal' next day - but it was easier to just pound through a 32 hour day and then collapse on the airplane home. Nothing productive happened from those long days. Just like water skiing, more and more mistakes happen the longer a person is at it.


Posts like this make me want to remind people that there ARE good places to work. If you’re stuck in this kind of BS, there ARE alternatives. Just like relationships, there are many job fish in the sea, so don’t get discouraged, just find a way out.


The problem is finding them. The job search sites are trash as far as being a competent mediator to make the hiring process smoother. And companies are way too standoffish to hire quickly. It's a frustrating process.



I am the manager of a decent sized R&D org in a company on the order of Yelp’s size and not only do I find this inexcusable on Yelp’s part, but where I work we would put the firing manager into a training/coaching program to sensitize him to the work life balance needs of his team. If he refused he would probably be removed as a manager and perhaps shown the door.

I work for large adtech company in France and out here oncall is paid (even if you’re not called) and we never intrude on personal time unless there is a major disaster, and even then there are almost always enough folks being paid to handle the oncall event to take care of things.

We do have R&D offices in the US and I don’t know the specifics of HR policy wrt oncall there, but everyone rolls up to the French HQ so I know it remains human-first.


I take the approach of telling people to call or text me if something is urgent (my number is in the company directory), because I likely won't notice an email quickly, and will ignore Slack/IM completely so soon as I walk out the door. The only time my phone buzzes is when something is actually on fire.

I remember previous jobs where late night emails demanding edits to someone's slide deck were routine (and anything is not urgent, it is editing some product manager's slide deck). That shit can wait until Monday, and if you are throwing it on me because you procrastinated, that's your problem.


We can thank labor unions for the concept of weekends and the 8-hour workday. The decline in labor union participation tracks with the erosion of the benefits our predecessors fought so hard for.


In nyc there are Orthodox Jews who work in medicine and finance and law who will not answer the phone or work on the sabbath. These are people who can make millions a year and are otherwise slaves to their jobs working 80 hour+ weeks. They have backups during the day they are off. The jobs they do are much more intense then tech work


Yelp will lose this lawsuit and this is a PR nightmare.


Yelp seems like a super toxic workplace and essentially a pay-to-play extortion racket.


My guess is that religion thing was added to make the case more robust. Unfortunately the meat of the case (having to be on call 247) might be considered "less outrageous" these days :(


My question is what were the expectations? Did he agree to be on call then? Or did he inform that he wouldn't be available? There's a lot of context missing here...


I like the yelp service - but working for yelp has always seemed like a terrible idea.


The case https://imgur.com/a/qp57XAP

COMES NOW PLAINTIFF MARK WEATHERS for causes of action, and alleges as follows: I. ALLEGATIONS

1. Plaintiff Mark Weathers ("Mr. Weathers" or "Plaintiff") resides in California and is a former employee of Defendant Yelp Inc. At all relevant times herein, Mr. Weathers worked for Defendant in San Francisco.

2. Defendant Yelp Inc. ("Yelp" or "Defendant") hosts an online database of user-generated reviews of local businesses and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

3. The true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate or otherwise, of DOES 1 through 10 are at this time unknown to Plaintiff, who therefore sues* said Defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiff will ask leave to amend this complaint for damages to reflect their true names and capacities when* the same have been ascertained. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and thereon alleges, that each of said Defendants is responsible, jointly and severally, for the events and injuries described herein and caused damages thereby as alleged herein.

4. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and thereon alleges, that at all times mentioned herein each and every co-Defendant was and is the predecessor-in-interest, successor-in-interest, agent, counselor, employee, servant, partner, franchisee and/or joint venturer of each of other co­ Defendant, and in doing the actions hereinafter mentioned, was and/or is acting within the scope of its authority within such agency, employment, counseling, service, partnership, franchise and/or joint venture or single enterprise, and with the permission and consent of each co-Defendant. Plaintiff alleges that each of said Defendants is responsible, jointly and severally, for the events and injuries described herein and caused damages thereby to Plaintiff as alleged herein.

5. In October of 2016, Yelp offered Mr. Weathers the position of Security Manager starting on November 14, 2016, and reporting to the Head of Security Rick Lee.

6. Mr. Weathers' duties included overseeing several site managers located throughout the country. His compensation included an annual salary, an equity award, a relocation bonus, and a benefits package that included health, dental, vision, life insurance, long term disability, and 401(k).

7. At all times, Mr. Weathers fulfilled the expectations of his . position. In January of 2018, Yelp increased Mr. Weathers' compensation and granted him stock.

8. On Saturday, March 31, 2018, which was Easter weekend, Mr. Lee called Mr. Weathers about an email he had sent the previous night (Good Friday) at 11:49 p.m. Mr. Lee wanted to know why Mr. Weathers had not yet responded to an email. Mr. Weathers indicated that he had not checked his email because it was Easter weekend and he was spending time with his family and attending church services. In fact, Mr. Weathers was attending a church-sponsored event when he answered Mr. Lee's phone call. Mr. Lee was upset that no one, including Mr. Weathers, had responded to an employee's ticket request for after-hours access to Yelp's offices in Phoenix the prior evening after normal business hours. Mr. Lee said Mr. Weathers needed to be responsive, even while he was attending church services.

9. At 12:40 p.m. on Easter Sunday, April 1, while Mr. Weathers was attending church services with his family, Mr. Lee emailed Mr. Weathers and the site managers regarding this situation. He instructed Mr. Weathers to contact each of the site managers to find out what had happened with the ticket request and how to prevent the situation from recurring. He demanded that Mr. Weathers provide an "after action review" to him by the close of business the following day, necessitating that Mr. Weathers contact each of his co-workers on Easter Sunday. In addition, Mr. Lee admonished, "Each leader on this email should make a regular practice of checking email and setting cell phones to take inbound calls 24/7/365 ... so that your phone still rings even if you set it to 'do not disturb' mode." Otherwise, he threatened to "make some changes" if employees could not "commit to being attentive to [their] inbound communiques."

10. On April 2, Mr. Weathers timely provided the information that Mr. Lee had requested. As part of this information, Mr. Weathers explained to Mr. Lee that, "I made a choice to focus on Easter Weekend (Good Friday, Easter Sunday), a very important weekend for me ... I did not check email as I usually would on other weekends." Mr. Lee responded, "You should be checking emails and vmails/inbound calls every day (regardless of weekend or holiday). I understand that church services likely require you to turn off devices. However, a 12-hour gap of non-checking is not acceptable. (Recall that I worked on an incident for 4 hours on Christmas Eve when my personal priority was to be with my family.)" Mr. Lee also verbally told Mr. Weathers, "I don't care about your PTO, religious holidays, your kids or your birthday. I expect a response to my emails." He made this statement despite knowing that Mr. Weathers is a person of faith who is pursuing a degree in ministry leadership and whose son is severely autistic.

11. On April 3, Mr. Weathers approached human resources. He told a human resources representative about the incident that had occurred over Easter weekend, and specifically that Mr. Lee demanded that employees be responsive to work issues even during religious and family commitments. Mr. Weathers also conveyed that his direct reports had expressed concerns about being required to work on Easter Sunday or during paid time off. The human resources representative said she would follow up on this issue. She also suggested that he could include this information as part of his feedback in the manager's survey-a companywide anonymous survey completed by all employees, which he did.

12. On May 15, the day after the manager's survey results were published, Mr. Lee met with Mr. Weathers for their quarterly conversation. During this meeting, for the first time, Mr. Lee was critical of Mr. Weathers performance. He accused Mr. Weathers of needing 'recognition." He said that Mr. Weathers' work on a physical security review the previous month had been disappointing, even though at the time, he commended Mr. Weathers for having done a "great" job. When Mr. Weathers pointed this out, Mr. Lee claimed that his earlier positive feedback had been a "miscommunication." Mr. Lee also said that there had been a "ranking meeting" in February of 2018, and that he and Yelp's CFO had ranked Mr. Weathers as "third or fourth" in ''performance and potential." He never mentioned before that such a meeting had taken place, or that supposedly there were issues with Mr. Weathers' performance or career potential. In fact, Mr. Lee previously had been complimentary of Mr. Weathers' performance and told him that the CFO had praised Mr. Weathers for having a "growth mindset." Finally, Mr. Lee said that he did not like Mr. Weathers' response to the situation that had occurred over Easter Weekend-in which Mr. Weathers stated, "I made a choice to focus on Easter Weekend (Good Friday, Easter Sunday), a very important weekend for me ... I did not check email as I usually would on other weekends"-and reiterated that he was not concerned about Mr. Weathers' ::hurch or family obligations.

13. After this meeting, Mr. Lee all but stopped communicating with VJr. Weathers and sidelined Mr. Weathers from participating in work matters.

14. On May 25, 2018, Mr. Lee and the* human resources *epresentative met with Mr. Weathers. Mr. Lee advised Mr. Weathers that he Nas "not a good fit for this role" and presented him with three options: a performance plan, one month's severance, or termination. Mr. Weathers pointed out that Mr. Lee had previously told Mr. Weathers that "people do not survive [performance plans]." In fact, Mr. Lee said this on numerous occasions about various employees. Mr. Weathers pointed out that, in light of this, a performance improvement plan did not seem like a viable option.

15. On May 29, the human resources representative told Mr. Weathers that the company was "concerned" about how Mr. Lee had managed the situation and, therefore, would be investigating whether there was retaliation. She interviewed Mr. Weathers over the next few days, including about Mr. Lee's statements that Mr. Weathers and other employees are required to work during paid time off and regardless of church or family obligations.

16. On May 31, 2018, the human resources representative told Mr. Weathers that she had "looked into" the situation but supposedly determined that Mr. Lee had not said anything illegal.

17. On June 4, 2018, the human resources representative sent Mr. Weathers a meeting request and said that Mr. Lee wanted to present Mr. Weathers with a list of performance issues. Mr. Weathers asked for a copy of the list in advance, so that he could be prepared for their meeting, but no one provided him with a copy.

18. Instead, on June 5, when Mr. Weathers met with the human resources representative, she told him that given the "toxic environment," "it would be better" for Mr. Weathers to leave his employment at Yelp. Yelp terminated Mr. Weathers from his employment effective June 5, 2018.

19. Plaintiff timely exhausted his administrative remedies by filing a :harge of discrimination with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and obtaining a right to sue.

20. Defendant's actions were undertaken for improper purposes as alleged above and were willful, oppressive and in conscious disregard of Plaintiff's rights, and were designed and intended to cause and did, in fact, cause Plaintiff to suffer severe emotional distress, pain and suffering, and substantial economic damage and, therefore, justify the awarding of exemplary and punitive damages.


Yikes if this is true. If I were on a jury there is absolutely no way Yelp would survive this assuming this is true and assuming there is not evidence that makes me reconsider my position on this. The fact that the documents were not provided to the plaintiff upon request and before a meeting with HR alone already has me seriously suspect. HR should probably be accountable in this situation as well as the manager involved. It seems like Yelp failed at every step of this process which is designed to protect the legal and business interests of Yelp.


that Mr. Weathers and other employees are required to work during paid time off

WTF?


The engineer who wanted access is going to feel like a right idiot.


And companies wonder why their employees try to unionize.


Madness. Hire shift workers. Geezus. And don’t fire, manage them out with a pip. Does it take a long time? Sure! But thats what you get for having stupid policies.


TL;DR: lawsuit claims dude's boss had unreasonable-but-believable demands on availability, yelp denies it. No real information is given as to the up-front understanding of expectation, nor evidence for either side.

I'd be interested in the details once everything is decided, but as it stands there just isn't much to do other than speculate....or crack jokes about reviewing Yelp.


> as it stands there just isn't much to do other than speculate....or crack jokes about reviewing Yelp.

Or we could debate the merits of managers and/or company policies requiring "24/7/365" availability, even without enough evidence to make an informed judgment in this particular case.

I personally think it's bullshit.


Sure...but is there really a debate? I'm willing to accept a sliver of jobs that require that availability, if they involve saving lives or huge sums of money AND are explicitly agreed to by both parties.

Other than some quibbles about if money qualifies and if so how much, I don't really expect a lot of argument - even the jerks demanding such availability without caveats tend to only demand it when they are the boss involved.

Edit: Based on the other comments on the story so far...I may be wrong.


Just rotate on-call hours around several employees. Putting "lives or huge sums of money" onto one singular employee who must be in contact at all times is a recipe for disaster.


I was thinking of things like a personal accountant for a mega-millionaire or a doctor on a crisis case...but even then you're right. Even with my qualifier of "sliver" and that I was mentally thinking in time-spans of less than 365 days...yeah. No call.


> I'd be interested in the details once everything is decided

I'll give you a preview: This is going to settle very quickly. Yelp probably wins the court case, but there's no way they are letting this type of story stay in the press forever.


Assuming things went down more or less as described, I wouldn't put much stock in Yelps chances should this end up in front of a jury.


They 100% win this. They didn't treat him differently because he's religious, they made him work despite being religious. That's perfectly legal in the US.


> That's perfectly legal in the US.

This is incorrect. This behavior is illegal according to title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is not enough to treat people “equally”, because it is trivially easy to come up with “equal” but discriminatory requirements. Instead, companies are required to reasonably accommodate the religious observations of their employees, unless there is some compelling reason otherwise.


Reasonable accommodation doesn't mean the day off and it certainly doesn't mean the day off without requesting it in advance.

To be clear, I'm not defending Yelp requiring people to be on email/phone 24/7, but his statement makes it very clear that he never made a request for this.

Should he have to? No it's a weekend. But legally they aren't required to. Had he requested, in advance, that he not be contacted on Sunday for religious observation you can bet that would absolutely be public. It'd be a slam dunk case.

So yes, it is perfectly legal to email someone on a religious holiday and expect an answer if they didn't request accommodations ahead of time. There's no court in the country that wouldn't call that unreasonable.


You are pinning an awful lot on that missing request (as are Yelp, probably). Before we continue, are you a lawyer or do you just play one on TV?


Nope, not a lawyer. But I do have the power of common sense. You can refrain from the snide comments if this is too be a productive conversation.

That request is literally the key to all of this. If they don't know he's observing a religious holiday how the hell can they be violating his rights here?

Pretty sure the guy knew of Easter in advance. And while working for Yelp sounds pretty horrible, if he didn't request the day off for religious reasons I find it hard to comprehend how the company is liable for that.

And for the sake of argument, I hope he did and Yelp ends up paying oodles of money for this. But I imagine that would have been very much spewing out of his lawyer's mouth if it were the case.


First of all, you can't trot out stuff like "I have the power of common sense" while complaining about snide comments.

As for due warning, they were informed of the religious observance at the time (and before Easter Sunday), and proceeded to straight up make policy on the spot that invalidated it and future religious celebrations.

I asked for your qualifications not to be hostile but because legal matters are often - for better and worse - more nuanced than most people's intuition, and I don't think you have adequately addressed either the legal specifics of what constitutes adequate notice, examined Yelp's response to the situation, or how any of this might look to a jury.


> First of all, you can't trot out stuff like "I have the power of common sense" while complaining about snide comments

Tit for tat.

> As for due warning, they were informed of the religious observance at the time (and before Easter Sunday), and proceeded to straight up make policy on the spot that invalidated it and future religious celebrations.

Yes, the the day before Easter, which he also took off as apparently Easter weekend is a holiday, not just the day.

> I asked for your qualifications not to be hostile but because legal matters are often - for better and worse - more nuanced than most people's intuition, and I don't think you have adequately addressed either the legal specifics of what constitutes adequate notice, examined Yelp's response to the situation, or how any of this might look to a jury.

You asked because it functioned as an ad hominem. You're part of this conversation, and haven't suggested you have any legal qualifications, which we can safely assume it means you don't.

I don't need to address the legal specifics of what constitutes adequate notice, because I'm fairly confident "the day before" isn't going to qualify.

Have you read any case law on the matter? Reasonable accommodations doesn't even require that employers remove the conflict, they just need to accommodate it. The request for this "time off" was made the day he wanted to start taking said time off, for 2 days. Yelp had an "emergency" situation that obligated him be on-call.

Read the standard: "Unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business." Minimal burden. Furthermore, the EEOC defines what reasonable accommodations might look like:

"Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practice"

How many of those can be implemented with no notice? None. The very idea that you and others think 0 days notice for religious accommodation is acceptable is so very confusing. The bar to show the request as unreasonable is exceptionally low. Almost anything can be considered more than a minor burden.


> You asked because it functioned as an ad hominem.

No, I asked because of your extreme certainty. Both in this thread and others, you repeatedly use language like "100%!", which I frankly think can only come from someone with deep domain expertise.

Unlike you, I and most others here are certainly not claiming to know beyond a shadow of doubt how a court might rule in this case (not least of which because we don't have all the facts of the case). If you're going to proclaim infallibility I think it's reasonable to have the qualifications to support it : you don't.

> Have you read any case law on the matter

Well, some of it at least. For instance :

https://casetext.com/case/brown-v-polk-county-iowa-2

Of interest in that case -

> "Preliminarily, we reject the defendants' argument that because Mr. Brown never explicitly asked for accommodation for his religious activities, he may not claim the protections of Title VII. An employer need have "only enough information about an employee's religious needs to permit the employer to understand the existence of a conflict between the employee's religious practices and the employer's job requirements." Heller v. EBB Auto Co., 8 F.3d 1433, 1439 (9th Cir. 1993). Because the first reprimand related directly to religious activities by Mr. Brown, we agree with the district court that the defendants were well aware of the potential for conflict between their expectations and Mr. Brown's religious activities."

I would draw your attention to this part :

> only enough information about an employee's religious needs to permit the employer to understand the existence of a conflict between the employee's religious practices and the employer's job requirements

This is of relevance here, because it seems pretty clear that the terminated manager was outspoken about his religious affiliation.

Also -

> "Religion" includes "all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that [it] is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee's . . . religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business."

Indicating much of the onus falls on the employer to demonstrate that accommodating religious beliefs presents an undue hardship. In this case, I think Yelp will have a hard time demonstrating that having delegation redundancy twice a year will constitute "undue hardship".

Moreover, it's not enough to merely speculate about the hardship - they [Yelp] have to actually prove it :

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/9...

(From a 10th circuit ruling)

> [I]t is certainly conceivable that particular jobs may be completely incompatible with particular religious practices. It would be unfair to require employers faced with such irreconcilable conflicts to attempt futilely to resolve them. Employers faced with such conflicts should be able to meet their burden by showing that no accommodation is possible.

> Although conceivable, such situations will also be rare. We therefore will be "skeptical of hypothetical hardships." [citation omitted] "The employer is on stronger ground when he has attempted various methods of accommodation and can point to hardships that actually resulted."

Clearly, no methods of accommodation have been attempted in this case, since there are quite literally no major religious Christian holidays between easter and June (when the employee in question was eventually terminated)

So in summary, it can fairly be argued that the employer had sufficient contextual knowledge of the employee's religious affiliation to not force them to work on his religion's major holiday, undermining the notion that advance notice is a hard prerequisite to providing accommodation. Yelp will also need to demonstrate that said accommodations (of which there were none) would constitute a non-hypothetical undue hardship (which will be difficult to demonstrate, since no attempts were ever made).

Moreover, Yelp has dug themselves into a complete mess if the communication chain contains lots of juicy tidbits like "I don't care about your religion or children", in addition to establishing a policy of zero-religious-exception as a response to a request for religious accommodation. At that point, they're going to have a tough time falling back on the defense of inadequate notice (which, as shown above, is far from a given), since their response demonstrates precisely 0.0 willingness to even entertain the notion of accommodation.

"Your honor, if we had more time to prepare to give him the middle finger, we would have given him both hands... I mean... wait..."


> No, I asked because of your extreme certainty. Both in this thread and others, you repeatedly use language like "100%!", which I frankly think can only come from someone with deep domain expertise.

I can be both absolutely certain and absolutely wrong. That doesn't obligate domain knowledge of any sort.

> Unlike you, I and most others here are certainly not claiming to know beyond a shadow of doubt how a court might rule in this case (not least of which because we don't have all the facts of the case). If you're going to proclaim infallibility I think it's reasonable to have the qualifications to support it : you don't.

Where did I claim infallibility? And how about you stop with the Ad hominems? They are weak. Again, I'm not arguing that I'm infallible, I'm just absolutely certain that there is no reasonable court or jury that would consider a same-day request a reasonable request.

> This is of relevance here, because it seems pretty clear that the terminated manager was outspoken about his religious affiliation.

There is absolutely zero evidence that he was outspoken about his religious affiliation outside of the day he mentioned it, which was also the day he requested it.

And you are drawing an absurd conclusion from that statement. Information about an employee's religious needs is not the same as information about an employee's religious affiliation. Saying your Christian is not enough to automatically get Easter off.

> Indicating much of the onus falls on the employer to demonstrate that accommodating religious beliefs presents an undue hardship.

Finally we agree on something. It's absolutely up to the employer to prove that the request was an undue burden.

> In this case, I think Yelp will have a hard time demonstrating that having delegation redundancy twice a year will constitute "undue hardship".

They don't have to. They only have to prove (A) that a request wasn't made until the day of, thus the undue hardship came from having no time to "fill" this employees duties. The premise of my argument is that if Yelp received zero notice outside of the same day he wanted to start a 2 day religious observance, no court is going to consider the request reasonable.

Obviously, if he had said this well in advance then Yelp is screwed. But I can't fathom why his attorney wouldn't clearly indicate that's the case in his statement. It would make this almost obvious.

> Clearly, no methods of accommodation have been attempted in this case

Stop with the straw men. My argument isn't that Yelp attempted to accommodate, it's that his request came with zero notice, thus wasn't a reasonable request.

> So in summary, it can fairly be argued that the employer had sufficient contextual knowledge of the employee's religious affiliation to not force them to work on his religion's major holiday

I'm going to highlight this part, because you are jumping to an enormous conclusion that's just objectively wrong.

> only enough information about an employee's religious needs to permit the employer to understand the existence of a conflict between the employee's religious practices and the employer's job requirements

Religious needs. This case set case law that employees need not use magic words to request specific religious holidays off, but in no way can this be interpreted to mean anyone simply saying they are Christian is not specifying religious needs it's specifying affiliation.

> undermining the notion that advance notice is a hard prerequisite to providing accommodation.

By your logic simply telling someone in passing that you are going to Church means a business is now required, without notice, to give you every Sunday off. It's absolutely ludicrous.

> Yelp will also need to demonstrate that said accommodations (of which there were none) would constitute a non-hypothetical undue hardship (which will be difficult to demonstrate, since no attempts were ever made).

Of course, your summary relies on a serious misinterpretation of the difference between "religious needs" and "religious affiliation". Feel free to support your argument with case law, stating unequivocally, that simply knowing someone's religious affiliation is enough to accommodate them on all religious holidays that particular religion.

By your logic, the company being aware of his religious affiliation would also obligate them to give him Pentecost off, right?

How about if someone mentions in passing they are Muslim. Do they get to let the business know, the same day, that they need Laylat al-Qadr off? Is the business responsible for accommodating that because "they knew his religious affiliation".

Your entire argument hinges on three absurd theories:

1) He made it clear, in advance, what his religious affiliation is.

2) Knowing the religious affiliation of an employee is enough to obligate the business to provide "reasonable accommodations".

3) "Reasonable accommodations" includes giving all religious holidays off up to and including those requested the same day of the holiday itself.

I'm in no way defending that manager or Yelp. But if any of your assumptions were true there would be mountains of case law supporting these law suits. There aren't.

Everything you've said thus far ignores the "reasonable" part of "reasonable accommodation". There is nothing reasonable, on its face, about requesting two days off for religious reasons, on the same day those two days start. That's the only argument I'm making. And within the boundaries of that argument, I can't find a single case in which a same-day request for religious observance has ever even been filed let alone ruled in favor of. Can you?


> Feel free to support your argument with case law, stating unequivocally, that simply knowing someone's religious affiliation is enough to accommodate them on all religious holidays that particular religion.

> I can't find a single case in which a same-day request for religious observance has ever even been filed

Narrow goal posts much? I had my doubts, but I am now confident you are not having a discussion in good faith. We're done here.


> But I do have the power of common sense.

Are you saving it for later? (I joke, but your "common sense" assertion seems like a total non-sequitur to me.)

> If they don't know he's observing a religious holiday how the hell can they be violating his rights here?

He told them, it's right there in the lawsuit.

> And while working for Yelp sounds pretty horrible, if he didn't request the day off for religious reasons I find it hard to comprehend how the company is liable for that.

He had the day off to begin with. Normally you don't have to work during "time off". The company is liable because they fired him rather than make reasonable accommodations as required by law. This is spelled out rather clearly in the lawsuit.


> Are you saving it for later? (I joke, but your "common sense" assertion seems like a total non-sequitur to me.)

Hilarious.

> He told them, it's right there in the lawsuit.

No, he told them after they attempted to contact him. That's not requesting in advance.

> He had the day off to begin with

Clearly he didn't. Even he says all this managers employees were emailed with the expectation they'd be available via email on weekends. That's horrible and a place I'd never work. But that's not illegal.

> Normally you don't have to work during "time off".

It's not "time off" if they obligate people to be available. It's permanent on-call.

> The company is liable because they fired him rather than make reasonable accommodations as required by law.

And their argument is going to be he didn't request reasonable accommodations because they weren't requested in a reasonable time frame. If he had a request a week in advance this wouldn't even be conversation.


If there's anybody who would be freaking out about someone not answering emails on Easter, or Christmas, or whatever, it's a lawyer, in my experience :)




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