Lewin & Lewin asked a federal court of appeals on February 9 to reconsider its stunning ruling that approved the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a 26-year veteran employee of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority who was suspended without pay because she stayed home to observe the concluding two days of Passover in 2013. In his 15-page petition, Nathan Lewin, well-known advocate for Jewish religious rights, noted that the initial decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had failed to quote or construe the precise language of the Authority’s manual that, according to the court’s opinion, the employee had failed to follow before taking annual leave for the religious holiday.
The federal Civil Rights Act requires employers to make a “reasonable accommodation” to the religious observances of their employees. The provision of law, initially drafted by Lewin, was included in 1973 amendments to the Civil Rights Act in order to protect Sabbath-observers.
Ms. Abeles’ appeal was supported by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the American Jewish Committee, and the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs.