Redditor Sensualsanta works at a Jewish community center. This week, the center’s director delivered the following surprise:
I was eating lunch inside the building when the director of the Chabad approached me and said I was not allowed to eat my food inside the building because it was non-kosher. I was pretty shocked at first and I asked, “where am I supposed to go?” My lunch break is 30 minutes and I am too far from any restaurants. Furthermore, there is no staff lounge or break room, so I was just eating my food at one of the tables in the common area.
I had to eat outside. It was raining and cloudy but I was told I had to eat at a bench outdoors. Well, at least there was a roof over it.
When they hired me they said they wanted to make people feel “welcome,” but [yesterday] I felt so angry and upset.
She discussed it further with me later on, explaining that the Chabad is a “safe” place for guests and that she’s worried my non-kosher food will spoil the surfaces of the kosher-only tables. Furthermore, she said she was concerned that people might mistake my lunch as food from the Chabad and god-forbid take some of it and eat it (why the fuck would someone assume that about a half-eaten lunch in a lunchbox??? and I always clean up!).
I suggested a staff lounge for non-religious folks working there (there’s quite a bit), but she absolutely does not want to have any non-kosher food [anywhere] in the building… like it would taint the whole place.
My other concern is, come the summer heat I won’t be able to eat outside because I can’t tolerate hot weather (rosacea). I explained that to her and she didn’t seem to care.
Do an employer’s “reasonable accommodations” for a person’s beliefs, as mandated by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, work only in one direction? Would a court, or the EEOC, find the center’s no-unkosher-food policy reasonable, given that the place tells all non-Jewish employees to eat their ham sandwiches outside, regardless of the rain or the cold?
At least for now, Sensualsanta doesn’t intend to find out:
I’ll just tell her my food is kosher from now on.
(Image via Shutterstock)