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Fotos y Actividades

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Are your teens being denied employment because of Sabbath?

Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Department of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty March 29, 2007

IT'S SUMMER! ARE YOUR TEENS BEING DENIED EMPLOYMENT BECAUSE OF SABBATH? By Alan J. Reinach, Esq. "If you don't have open availability, we can't even look at you." My stepson Chris heard some variation of this same line repeatedly this week, as he hit the pavement looking for a summer job. His first job was handed to him by virtue of his enrolling at Monterey Bay Academy.

He stuck it out all year in the cafeteria, and received an excellent performance evaluation. The first manager he met at Target was impressed, enough that he was passed on to the second manager, which meant that he was in line to be hired. When the second manager heard that he had restricted work hours due to his religion, the interview ended. "We can't use you." Despite my urging, Chris has yet to sit down and give me the information to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It's really easy to do. It can be as simple as writing a letter.

We can guide parents in how to do this, or if you really need help, we can send the letter for you. I confess. I am angry, hurt and ready to fight! I know that each summer, hundreds, maybe thousands of Adventist kids are denied jobs they are well qualified for, for no other reason than religious discrimination. How many other kids are available to work on Saturdays at the mall stores, Target or anywhere else? There is no reason they cannot accommodate. They don't do it because they have no idea that they have to.

They are clueless that they are even doing anything wrong! How many of our teens leave the church because they begin to work on Sabbath? How many times do they have to be rejected before their resolve to do right is worn down, and they give in and consent to work on Sabbath because they really need a job, any job? How many rejections before they get the message that in order to succeed in life, they will have to make some compromises, and their faith can't be first? This won't change unless we work together. There are teens in your church suffering through this right now.

"An army of youth rightly trained," Ellen White said, would change the world. Right now, we need to change the law, and change the attitude of employers to our kids. We can't do anything unless you get the kids and families to stand up and be counted. WHAT TO DO NOW! First, we need to begin by encouraging our youth to stand up for what they believe. There are valuable lessons in faith, courage and perseverance to be learned in facing rejection, and trusting God to guide you to another job.

At first, Chris felt sure that God had something better than Target. After a few days, he's not so sure. Our kids need our encouragement to keep faith with God, no matter what. But we also need to do two things: first, we need kids willing to file discrimination complaints, and to follow through in holding employers accountable. Second, we need kids and parents willing to join our staff for lobby visits to support the Workplace Religious Freedom Act.

These visits are short and enjoyable. You get to tell your story, briefly, to a staffer who is usually barely out of their teens, a twenty-something who still remembers their first summer jobs. Please contact us, and help us help you!

Phone: 805-413-7396, Loritha McDuffie


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