Monday, January 7, 2008

MBTA Incompetence That May Actually Amaze You

The Widget:

Court: SJC
Judge: Cordy
Subject: Religious discrimination
Tone: Patiently incredulous
Importance: 3.6

So it goes deeper than just not being able to run the trains on time. On Friday the SJC decided Massachusetts Bay Transp. Auth. v. Massachusetts Comm’n Against Discrimination, SJC No. 9893. A Seventh Day Adventist applied for a job driving buses for the MBTA. When he applied, he told them that his religion prohibited from working on Friday after sundown or during the day on Saturday. And it doesn’t look like he slipped this in somewhere – the Court says he informed them of this fact “[t]hroughout the application process.” He was given a conditional offer of employment.

Can you guess what our fine MBTA did next? They tried to make this guy work on Friday nights and Saturdays. They wouldn’t provide him with an accommodation even though he could work every hour of every other day. And then they revoked his job offer. The SJC affirmed the discrimination commission’s finding that this violated the Commonwealth’s discrimination laws.

A point about the wheels of justice. The events in question took place in 1997. That means it took ten full years for the Commonwealth’s justice system to resolve this dispute. As Jeremy Piven would say: “Ten YEARS!

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