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Georgia Days of Rest Law

Posted by Tamara

Unlike many other states, the Georgia statutes generally assume that an employee will be off on Saturday and Sunday, although they stop short of legally requiring that.

Georgia does require any business that operates on Saturday and/or Sunday make reasonable efforts to accommodate employees whose “habitual day of worship” falls on one of those two days. Interestingly, the law makes no mention of an employer accommodating an employee who habitually worships on a day other than Saturday or Sunday.

The Georgia law goes even further than requires that the employer make reasonable accommodations for the employees social and physical needs, as well as religious “so that those employees may enjoy the same benefits as employees in other occupations.” The law does not expressly state what those benefits might be, but it is encouraging to see a state that is concerned about the general welfare of workers.

Georgia also has two additional laws regarding hours and days of work, but they apply only to workers in very specific occupations. Statute 34-7-48 applies only to railroad company employees and statute 34-3-1 applies to most employees in cotton or wool mills or manufacturing.

Under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, an employer must make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. This could include allowing a Jewish employee to leave work before dark on Friday, or allowing a Jehovah’s Witness employee to take Wednesday night off for prayer meeting. An employer might also be required to allow Islamic employees to wear beards, or to allow a Mormon employee to schedule vacation time to participate in a mission. However, the employer is not required to do any of these things if they are an undue hardship. The legal test for an undue hardship varies according to the size of the employer, the financial resources and the operational problems presented.



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