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AJCONGRESS INQUIRY SPARKS INVESTIGATION INTO POST OFFICE POLICIES REGARDING RELIGIOUS ACCOMMODATION

 AJCONGRESS INQUIRY SPARKS INVESTIGATION INTO POST OFFICE
 POLICIES REGARDING RELIGIOUS ACCOMMODATION
 NEW YORK, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Prompted by an inquiry from the American Jewish Congress, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has expressed "deep concern" over indications that the U.S. Postal Service may be discriminating in employment on the basis of religion. The EEOC has asked the Assistant Postmaster General to launch an inquiry into the Postal Service's policies regarding accommodation of religious practices.
 In early December, Marc Stern, co-director of the AJCongress Commission on Law and Social brought to the attention of Evan Kemp Jr., chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, two letters written by the Government Relations Department of the Postal Service to a Postal Service employee insisting that the "Postal Service cannot accommodate everyone's religion. We are not going to be a public service, |sic~ when we accommodate everyone's religion, |sic~ who works for us. Our business is to move the mail and this is
what we do!" The employee was also told by the Postal Service that "We in the postal service have no time for someone's religious beliefs or someone's Sabbath. You have to come to work, when we need you."
 The letters were written to a Postal Service employee seeking reinstatement after having been discharged because he refused to work on his sabbath. Because the employee was not represented by counsel at the time, he let the time for filing a formal complaint of discrimination pass.
 Following Stern's letter to Chairman Kemp, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wrote to the Assistant Postmaster General asking that the Postal Service "provide this office with a clarification of the Postal Service's policy on religious accommodation, and the steps being taken to ensure that the staff of your Government Relations department is complying with the mandate of Title VII, "which prohibits discrimination based on religion and requires that all employers provide reasonable accommodation for the practice of individual religious beliefs.
 "Although the passage of time may make it impossible to secure relief for the employee who initiated the exchange of correspondence with the Postal Service," noted Stern, "we are extremely pleased with the prompt and efficient manner in which the EEOC responded to us upon learning of possible discrimination by the Postal Service. We hope that their involvement will lead to a review by the Postal Service of its policies involving religious accommodation and insure that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is strictly adhered to by the Postal Service."
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: Andrea Binder of American Jewish Congress, 212-360-1541/ CO: American Jewish Congress; U.S. Postal Service ST: New York, District of Columbia IN: SU:


KD -- NY071 -- 8371 01/09/92 16:06 EST
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Date:Jan 9, 1992
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