How to Get Your Religion and Your Job to Coexist in Peace

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- No matter if you celebrate Christmas, Passover, Diwali or Vesak, multiple requests for time off from work for "devotional" purposes can result in an angry boss or dismissal.

Of course it's almost always possible to take time off for religious reasons, but just how much is up for debate. We checked in with experts who offered some clarity on the work vs. worship question.

Every company's policy is different, says Richard Cohen, partner at the national law firm Fox Rothschild. While some companies will require that employees use their vacation time for days spent in worship, others may ask that employees take those days as unpaid time or make up for the lost hours by altering their schedule throughout the week.

"If an employer can reasonably accommodate a person who needs to be off on the Sabbath, then they must do so," Cohen says. "The cases we see in court typically revolve around people working on the Sabbath -- a day that your religion requires you to be off."

That distinction -- the religious "requirement" to be worshipping rather than working -- is an important one, Cohen says. For example, Christians are not required to attend and worship at a relative's baptism, just as Jews are not required to attend and worship at a relative's bar mitzvah. Both religions are required to keep the Sabbath holy, though. If your religion doesn't require you to be in worship on a particular day, your employer isn't technically required to give you that day off. With that said, most employers that value their staff will work to accommodate all requests.

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