Conductor: MTA discriminated by requesting proof he's Jewish to take off Rosh HashanahPosted: Updated:
An MTA conductor claims the agency is discriminating against him by telling him he must prove he's Jewish in order to take off work for Rosh Hashanah.
MTA conductor Benjamin Schaeffer says he's being asked to provide documentation proving he's Jewish to take the day off. Schaeffer says he's worked for the MTA for 22 years and never had a prior problem getting the holiday off.
"This should never happen to anyone," says Schaeffer. "It's degrading, it's humiliating, it's uncalled for and I just can't see anyone ever having to be subjected to this. Not in New York City where we're the most diverse city, I think, in the world."
Schaeffer says he followed the MTA time-off policy and submitted paperwork for the day three weeks in advance but had his request denied. After contacting the Transport Workers Union, he says the MTA told him he could have the day off if he provided the documentation - but didn't specify what documentation was needed.
Since News 12's report, the MTA responded by saying, "We value and respect our employees' religious beliefs and make every effort to accommodate requests for time off. This request was received after all leave slots for this day and job title had been distributed, but the supervisor involved made an exception for Mr. Schaeffer and granted him the day off. This issue has been reviewed by NYC Transit supervision and no documentation will be requested in this case of Mr. Schaeffer."
Schaeffer says he wants to make sure this doesn't happen to other employees in the future.
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