Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Christmas As Legal Holiday Does Not Violate County Employee's Rights

In Edelstein v. Stephens, (SD OH, Feb. 16, 2018), a Ohio federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing many of the claims of a state court staff attorney/magistrate who was fired after she requested eight days off for Jewish holidays. One of plaintiff's claims was that the county violated her free exercise and equal protection rights by designating Christmas as a legal holiday without similarly protecting the rights of non-Christians to celebrate their holidays.  The court said in part:
Butler County's policy establishing Christmas as a paid legal holiday for county employees is a neutral law that does not discriminate against a particular religion or set of religious beliefs or prohibit any conduct because it is undertaken for religious reasons.... The Sixth Circuit has acknowledged that because there are "legitimate secular purposes for establishing Christmas as a legal public holiday," it follows that the establishment of Christmas day as a legal public holiday neither violates an individual's fundamental rights nor discriminates against her based on her religion.
The Butler County Journal-News reports on the decision.