Posted on: Oct 22, 2015
A business that failed to accommodate an employee’s requests not to work Saturdays following his return to the practices of the Seventh Day Adventist Church was found to be in breach of the Human Rights Act by the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
Central to that decision was the Tribunal’s choice of comparator when determining whether discrimination had occurred. It chose as a comparator a group whose only difference to the employee lay in not having a religious belief requiring observance of the Sabbath. In so doing, it rejected the comparator advanced by the employer: a group which does not have such a religious belief but did refuse to work on Saturdays.
The consequence for the employer: damages of around $40,000 (Meulenbroek v Vision Antenna Systems Ltd  NZHRRT 51)
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