A delivery company in Miami has been ordered to pay an unnamed employee $50,000 for firing him when he didn’t show up for work on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Delivery Service LLC (TBDS), which partners with Amazon, was found guilty of religious discrimination.
But there was a bit more to the story.
According to the lawsuit, the employee had previously told TBDS that he was not available to work on Sunday because he was a Christian and attended church. But added that he was free to work on Saturdays.
However, when the company scheduled the employee for a Sunday shift, he was fired after he didn’t show up.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) took the case to court on behalf of the employee, who received $25,000 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in back pay.
The EEOC noted that according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the government requires companies to reasonably accommodate a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
The EEOC added that the company fully cooperated in resolving the issue and will be appointing a “religious accommodation coordinator.”
How are Christians to treat Sunday?
But this leads to a broader discussion on Sunday services.
I have met Christians who hold very strict opinions about Sunday and refuse to work and there are others, like myself, who take a more lenient approach.
In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul stated that treating one day as more important than another is very much a personal choice:
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6 NIV)
There were obviously believers in the early church who considered certain days as sacred and those who didn’t. Paul states that this is a matter of conscience, something a person chooses to do in order to honour the Lord.
It is uncertain how Paul treated the Sabbath Day (the last day of the week) after he became a believer.
This broke with the Jewish tradition, which held Synagogue services on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). Of course, this required a rejigging of the Jewish law because walking to a service on the Sabbath would be considered work.
But did Paul consider the Sabbath, or even Sunday, as a sacred day?
We know from 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, that the Apostle still participated in festival days, such as the Passover, when he wrote:
“Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
The phrase ‘let us,’ indicates he celebrated Passover as well, but there is no indication if Paul considered the Sabbath or Sunday, as sacred?
Though the early church held its services on Sunday, it seems that some early believers still considered the Sabbath as a sacred day.
We see that in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, where he writes that Christians should not allow others to judge them if they continue to honour the Sabbath Day.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17 NIV)
This may suggest that some early believers were holding services on a Saturday. Even today, we have some Christian groups, like the Seventh Day Adventists, who hold their church services on a Saturday, instead of Sunday.
But it doesn’t matter what day we hold church services or if we treat one day as sacred or all days the same, Paul says we are not to JUDGE OR CONDEMN the other person’s choice.