Frum man suing JetBlue

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jetblue.jpgA Brooklyn man is suing JetBlue Airways, claiming he was fired after he told the company’s CEO, a Mormon, that he was an observant Jew and couldn’t work on Saturday. Joseph Bunick, 31, said he applied for a job in customer service in 2005. He said he interviewed with recruiters and told them he could not work on Saturdays for religious reasons. He was told it would not be a problem, he said.

“They called me back to tell me I got the job,” Bunick said.

He attended employee training, repeated that he could not work on Saturdays and was again assured it would not be a problem.

But things changed when he met then-CEO David Neeleman, a Mormon, Bunick said.

“I told him I’m an observant Jew and I know there’s a training on Saturday, and I told him I won’t be able to make it,” he said. Neeleman’s reaction was negative, he said.

“The next day, I realized it was all over for me,” Bunick said. “All the recruiters approached me. They told me, ‘If you can’t be here and work on Saturday, you cannot work here.’ ” Bunick said he still attended the daily training, except for Saturday. The next Monday, he was fired, he said.

A JetBlue spokesman said the airline “does not discriminate against employees based on religion or any other protected classification.” “Not only does JetBlue refute Mr. Bunick’s allegations, but the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] – the agency assigned to review such allegations – could not substantiate his claim and dismissed his charge of discrimination.”

Last August, Faisal Baig, 40, a pilot who was born in Pakistan but came to the United States at age 7, filed a bias suit against the airline. Baig said JetBlue fired him on the grounds that he was “a security risk” because of where he was born.

(Source: NYPost)




78 COMMENTS

  1. You gotta wonder: How do we weigh the fact of American civil rights versus our being in golus? Does our being in golus mean that we must voluntarily relinquish rights that the local government ostensibly grants ALL people? I don’t know what to think about this. What do the Gedolim say?

  2. Jet Bkue has been the subject of bad press for quite some time…. Their inital reaction is always that they are 100% correct. … I would not be surprised to find out that this story is 100% true

  3. well we r in golus!
    but ‘hilchese demalchuse dina’!
    hence racial discrimination is prohibited!
    PS: to make some money is a jidishe krankhait!!!hahahaha

  4. It says ‘tzedek tzedek tirdof’
    We have a right to fight for injustice. In fact this young man was fired under questionable circumstance!

  5. I suspect that the truth of the matter is somewhere between this person’s claims and Jet Blue’s denials.

    By the way, Jet Blue is a great airline.

  6. MDshweks: I hear you. I think you make sense. Is there a makor for that Chasam Sofer?

    I once asked my Rosh Kollel (I go to a night kollel) about an article I read in the Yated, where someone wrote that one shouldn’t walk in the street on Shabbos wearing one’s tallis gadol because, as an old Holocaust survivor asked him, “Hust fargessen as mir zenen in galus?”

    My Rosh Kolel responded that this is utter nonsense.

  7. Reb Motcha, tell your rosh kolel that he is mistaken. No rosh hayeshiva today walk in the street with a tallis. It is a chilul hashem.

  8. My Rosh Kolel responded that this is utter nonsense.

    I’m not looking to get into an argument about who is a bigger Gadol but R. Yaakov Kaminetsky is quoted in B’michatzas Rabbeinu as subscribing to that “utter nonsense”. Also, I have observed R. Mattisyahu putting his tallis underneath his kappata before walking from Yeshiva to Bais Shalom, most likely because he also subscribes to that very same “utter nonsense”.

    My point is not that your Rosh Kollel is wrong, he is surely entitled to his opinion. However, this issue, like so many others, is not nearly as black and white as you make it out to be.

  9. Reb Motcha, tell your rosh kolel that he is mistaken. No rosh hayeshiva today walk in the street with a tallis. It is a chilul hashem.’

    A chillul Hashem, are you joking us or what???
    There is NO chillul Hashem in anything which representS yiddishkeit; You can argue that it might cause a scene and there fore antisemtic slurs but Defintily not a cHILLUL HASHEM

  10. Reb Motcha, it is well known that R. Yaakov Kaminecki held that one should not walk through the streets on Shabbos wearing a tallis as it may antagonize the non jewish neighbors.

  11. There certainly are Gedolei Yisroel that walked with their talis in the streets. (There may be some other who disagreed.) But I proudly walk in the streets wearing my talis.

    If it is a “chillul hashem”, perhaps we should hide our yarlmulka and tzitzis by the same token.

  12. I don’t understand. There may be Roshei Yeshiva that wear talesim in the street on Shabbos. However, the fact doesn’t change that R’ Yaakov ZT”L said that you should not walk in the steet wearing your Talis.
    Joseph, if you want to know why R’ Yaakov did not “Assur” a Yarmulka and Tzitzis ask his children they may have an answer. BUT you definitley should not make light of what R’Yaakov said . BTW, I my fater R’ Yaakov say that you shouldn’t wear the Talis in the street.

  13. sorry about the typo, my post in #16 should read “My father hear R’ Yaakov ZT”L say that you shouldn’t wear a Talis in the street”

  14. Additionally, if we could stick to Jet Blue for a minute, The man wasn’t fired for wearing a talis to work, he was [apparently] fired for not working on Shabbos. This is considered illegal and discriminatory in the USA. Only if it is impossible for the employer to accommodate a Shomer Shabbos is there any grounds to legally deny employment to a Shomer Shabbos. So this is not an issue of “being in Galus”, because the law is the law.

  15. Let us not forget that Jet Blue is George Soros’s baby!

    If it were true, why would it matter? Is he involved in this story? Also, JetBlue was founded by David Neeleman.

  16. a bit of info; the word is ‘TALLIS’ in plaural its ‘TALLISOS’ OR ‘TALLITOT’ not ‘TALLEISIM’. shabbos -shabosos not shabosim. peya=peyos not peyesim. so while you do research about weather or not one can wear out his tallis,also research your dikduk. (i am not a pro in dikduk and i dont waer out my tallis either. i eat potato kugel)

  17. aaym, you misunderstood me. I was pointing out, as others on this thread have, that Gedolei Yisroel other than Rav Yaakov (especially, but not exclusively, by the chasidishe velt) have disagreed and donned their talis in the street.

  18. I don’t see what the discrimination is here? – surely it’s as simple as the company going against their word.
    If it was in his contract that he would not have to work on shabbos, then they would have a case against them.
    Here, they SAID he didn’t have to work, and later changed their minds on the matter.Had they told him he was going to earn $70,000, and then changed their minds to $60,000, it would be a case of going against their word, nothing more.
    People are far too quick to get insulted under the guise of ‘religious discrimination’.

  19. All due respect to the Mr. Joseph Bunick (the one filing the lawsuit), but something doesn’t sound right in this story.

    How does someone training for a position in customer service at a company with thousands of employees come to meet the CEO?

    Additionally, why would Mr. Bunick be discussing his schedule with the CEO, as stated in the article? — “I told him I’m an observant Jew and I know there’s a training on Saturday, and I told him I won’t be able to make it,” he said. —

    Maybe someone can explain the situation a little better…or maybe Mr. Bunick needs to find a new source of potential income.

  20. Joseph, If all you had said was that others especially in the casideshe velt did wear the talis, I wouldn’t have said anything, but read what you wrote:
    in # 13 you wrote “If it is a “chillul hashem”, perhaps we should hide our yarlmulka and tzitzis by the same token”.
    in # 18 you wrote “And maybe we should cut our payos off, as that may antagonize the goyim as looking too Jewish”.
    Be careful with what you say, that’s it.

  21. aaym, those points were not made in regard to Reb Yaakov’s position, but rather to those commentators on this thread that professed that the reason is due to ”chillul hashem.”

  22. a bit of info; the word is ‘TALLIS’ in plaural its ‘TALLISOS’ OR ‘TALLITOT’ not ‘TALLEISIM’. shabbos -shabosos not shabosim. peya=peyos not peyesim. so while you do research about weather or not one can wear out his tallis,also research your dikduk. (i am not a pro in dikduk and i dont waer out my tallis either. i eat potato kugel)

    WHO SAID WE ARE SPEAKING HEBREW? Perhaps Yiddish??

    Where it is correct!!!
    (The punctuation and syntax was by design and intentional)

  23. Lashon is “haskamas uma v’uma.” (Ran Nedarim 2a, and others as well) People understand and use the term taleisim, therefore it is correct.

  24. that’s why Mr. Joseph you have to be careful how you speak and write.
    Perception of others is also a problem when it comes to speech (See hilchos loshon horah, etc.)
    That is why you have to be careful of what you say or write.

  25. ‘so while you do research about ‘weather’ or not one can wear out his tallis,also research your dikduk.’

    And I suggest you research your spelling, its Whether, W-H-E-T-H-E-R.

    ‘weather’ refers to the climate.

  26. aaym, I am glad to have clarified for you.

    (BTW if you look at my original comment, I specifically stated “If it is a “chillul hashem”, perhaps we should hide our yarlmulka and tzitzis by the same token.”)

  27. nameless, what would we do without you? Bshem harabim I appoint you official spell-checker of YW! 🙂

    I hope you have alot of free time!
    -Moderator

  28. Maybe R’ Yaakov left his shabbos talis in shul, so there was no need to wear it outside in public…

    It’s not just that R’ Yaakov didn’t do it, he told others not to do it as well. From what I heard (if I remember correctly), I think his words were “We don’t have to act like we own the streets”.

  29. torahis1 – In response to your question: “On this note, is it also a chillul hashem for Lubavitchers to put up Menorahs everywhere on Chanuka?”

    The answer is YES.

    And to make the Chillul Hashem even worse, they are busy in the courts trying to get them placed everywhere there is a tree.

  30. Admin – regarding what? Maybe I overlooked what you are referring to. Can you elaborate?

    Unless you mean to comments that you have not posted.

    That is what I meant.
    -Site Admin

  31. I am sure R’ Yankev was talking about in his days. Today so many people wear a talis in the streets its not a big deal. I have lived and visted many places across the fruited plain and almost everyone would have no problem wearing their talis in the street. If the yishmaelim yemach sh’mom here in the USA can wear their costume, farvuss ken a yid nisht gayn mit a talis?

    To all the galusniks, yes we are in galus and I dont think anyone is denying that. The issue is that we have to do what we can to earn parnosa. If working for a major airline is going to accomplish that, then so be it. I fly a lot and I have seen frum yidden working for the TSA. Based on Galus, why would they do that?

    We might be in galus but there is no reason we cannot try and work in the “out of the norn” fields provided we are not breaking halocha. Working for JetBlue was not breaking halocha.

    If it comes out that his story was emes, I hope he comes out ahead. Of course, there is something to say about not being able to be there for training. If you cant get trained, how do you expect to get the job?

  32. R. Yakov’s days were not so long ago. Even then, Monsey was very Jewish. Especially the area where he lived about which he said this. R’ Meir Stern wore it under his jacket in the frum areas of Lakewood only a few years ago. As far as menoras are concerned, R’ Yakov himself ruled in those same parts of Monsey that even so it should be lit indoors for the same reason. He felt that it is considered a Gezaira.

  33. I dont get it why people are making such a big deal about taleisim on shabbos and chillul hashem.

    Since when is the whole oilam such machmirim on hilchos chilul Hashem? Maybe we should all look into our everyday actions and see how many times we make a chilul Hashem. There are alot more serious problems of Chilul Hashem going on than wearing a tallis. Regarding me I daven vasikin on shabbos in BMG and If i wear a tallis even in a roiv goyim neighborhood (unlike 6th st) I still won’t make a chilul hashem at that hour.,,..,.,.,.

    Edited. Please stay on topic.
    -Moderator

  34. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m only asking a question, not trying to refute. It has been cited here mipi kodsho shel Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky zt”l that if we wear a tallis visibly in the street it appears as if we think we own the streets.

    I do not understand why wearing a tallis is worse than wearing a long reckel, a yshivisher hat, and especially more than a shtreimel and bekishe. Those alone are very visible and obvious. Does the tallis really add more to the impression?

  35. G’ Kop,

    With all due respect, your post reeks political bias!
    I agree that they should leave the courts out of it, but to say that putting up Menorahs on Channukkah is a CH’ Hashem, is absurd!

    Is dancing on the streets with a Sefer Torah when there is a dedication also a Chillul Hashem? What about an outside Levaya Rl? What about when a Rebbe comes to town and the little boys from Cheder are dancing with torches?

  36. JetBlue does somtimes act as though they hate frum Jews…

    I saw it myself. While waiting to board a JetBlue flight, I watched my aircraft arriving. (from the window upstairs) Before any doors of the incoming craft opened, 5 – 6 police cars surrounded the aircraft as if there were some terrorists on board. Then, upstairs (inside) 5 -6 police officers (with the hands ready on the gun)surrounded the door where the passengers come off… Can you guys imagine what criminals were escorted off the flight? A frum young lady with two adorable children!!!!!!!!
    A flight attendant made a whole commotion, that she endangered all passengers by keeping her hand luggage in the aisles and that her kids misbehaved!
    Finally, when the rest from the passengers came off, I approached a couple and asked them if there was a big ‘chillul Hashem’ on the flight, and they answered: “We did not notice anything AT ALL” So I asked them where they sat, the answered close to the front.
    Then I approached another passenger and asked her where she sat, she said 3/4 to the back, so I asked her if she knows whats going on, she said Yes. This lady behaved VERY RESPECTFULL, she manages her kids and luggage very nicely, but that from the minute she boarded the flight, this attendant didn’t stop insulting this frum family and just kept on bothering and restricting them. When the frum lady got all fed-up, she told the flight attendant that she is going to file a complaint to JetBlue. That’s when the attendant ran ahead and called in for security, claiming there is a passenger that is a risk for the flight….
    Most of the other passengers said good about the frum family and was upset at the flight attendant…
    This is only one worker, who I hope lost her job, but this story with the CEO might be true…

  37. bigplaut, hopefully the poor guy who got fired by jetblue won’t be “poor” anymore (once he is matzliach with his multi-million dollar discrimination lawsuit against jetblue.)

    (do you think we can hit 100 comments with all the responses to that?)

  38. 52: Sounds like an isolated incident, and I hope the passenger filed a complaint and the attendent DID get fired.

    My experience with JetBlue is precisely the opposite. As an example, I was flying on Chol haMoed Pesach, and when I declined the snacks offered, they came back with a bunch of O-U-P goodies.

  39. As far as the Menorah is concerned, if one goes to court to defend putting a menorah on public party, and proclaims that the menora is not a religious symbol, but a symbol of freedom, (to avoid separation of church and state problems) that is chilul Hashem. Chilul means taking something kodesh, and turning it into chol. By forcing themselves to make such proclamations, just so they can put their menora next to the very chulindik goyishe decorations, yes, that IS Chilul Hashem.

  40. You guys are so pathetic. Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky was qoting a Magen Avrohom who paskens that one should not walk that way in the street. So that is the halacha. To not follow the halcha, or think that you are smarter, is a chillul Hashem. It is also a chillul Hashem to parade your am – aratzus so proudly through your silly postings which betray your hatred for talmidie chachomim.
    I await midwesterner to quote rav chaim dov keller on the lubavitcher menorahs…

  41. In reading some of the comments above, I think something has to be clarified. Many are asking how wearing a Talis in the street is different from long peyos, a hat, etc in the street.

    The difference is simple (and will answer most of the questions above). When we dress as Frum Yidden, and act appropriately, that makes a Kiddush Hashem. No one says that we should dress differently outside than inside (except Moses Mendelsohn). It is when mitzvohs are done blatently in the street, as if we are in our private homes, that we have a problem. Goyim may respect our right to practice our religion, but not to stick it in their face.

  42. As someone who is frum and former JetBlue employee (by choice), I have to say that something in this story is not right. First of all, there are frum people working at JetBlue, including customer service. I never heard from any of them about being discriminated or in any way mistreated. On contrary, whenever there was an offsite corporate function, I never had a problem requesting a kosher meal or skipping it because of religious reasons. But even putting aside my personal experience, I have to ask what the person was doing telling CEO of the company about his personal issues. Whenever I had a problem, I would talk to my direct supervisor. If that doesn’t work, you can easily reach out to HR. While the story seems to imply that Dave Neelman (CEO of JB when I was there and when this alleged incident happened) has nothing better to do than fire individuals who refuse to work on Shabbos, anyone who worked at major US corporation (JB has over 11,000 employees) know that CEO is too busy to get involved in that kind of stuff. While I don’t like taking sides, I have a feeling there is more to the story than is being reported.

  43. What about ‘Chayov INNISH……’
    Are there any Rabonim WHO FORBID walking the streets on Purim if you are not sober? Just asking…

  44. pete: Please tell this pathetic person that I am: where is this Mogen Avrohom? I’d like to look it up and learn it. Thanks!

    By the way, I appreciate the invective. It rightly shows me how lowly and contemptible I am, and prompts me to teshuvah. I don’t know whether your excellent method will work on anyone else, though…. 🙂

  45. Pete: Midwesterner is “pulling his punches” because he wants to ensure that his posts get through. I don’t want to go too strong against what Rav Shach referred to as “Kat Hayadua” for fear of my posts getting deleted. As it happens, I have discussed this issue with R’ CD Keller Shlit’a on more than one occasion.

    And to Nameless: Putting a Menorah on top of you car may not be a chillul Hashem. It may just be megale Panim b’Torah shelo k’halacha. Putting your Menora b’davka in public places to sit Davka next to symbols of other religions, is a chillul of the mitzvos Hashem, by equating ours to theirs. It is also a question of a bracha levatala that one would make on the lighting of a menora in a place where there is no chiyuv. Making a bracha levatala IS a Chillul Hashem, however honorable ones intentions may be.

  46. MIDWESTERNER,

    Chabad have been putting Menorahs in public places for as long as I can remember; If its indeed not proper or a CH’H as you put it, why do you think the Lubavitcher Rebbe would have allowed it?

  47. It is clear to me and anyone who does not have all day to waste on this website, that the bickering going on here is a Chilul Hashem. If we have found nothing better to do then argue on insignificant matters and make a Chilul Hashem while pointing fingers and bickering then we need to readjust our priorities. As we stand in the 9 days before the saddest day of the year, I do not feel there is anything in these comments which indicate our intense desire to end Galut and bring back the Bet Hamikdash. Lets leave the arguing for the Bet Hamidrash and our time spend on more important things.
    thank you

  48. pete, please tell us which magen avrohom you are referring too. This is news to me. If it is in fact true what you say, show us where.

    On top of that, If You Are Davening On Shabbos At A Shul You Don’t Regulalry Attend, How Will You Get Your Talis There, If You Never Had The Opportunity To Be There Previously?!

  49. nameless – The Million dollar question!

    If you find the answer to why the Rebbe allowed (and encouraged) this, may be we may be on the road to figuring out all the other questions we have with Chabad.

  50. Nameless: For a remez to the answer for that, refer to the first half of my post #65. I have discussed this matter, and related matters with several people who are unversally respected as anashim chashivum/gedolim among the litvishe and chassidishe olams. The name quoted there is only one example, and was chosen only in direct response to Pete’s challenge.
    If the menora’s in public are such a Kiddush Hashem, why is there not a SINGLE Litvishe Rosh Yeshiva or Chassidishe Rebbe of note (from any movement other than the one that was mechadesh this concept) that promotes such behavior?

  51. Bizrizut had a point! We are barking up the same ‘ugly tree’ a week before TB,but go change whats been keeping Moshiach away all these years by repairing old wounds ona website.

    Midwesterner says;
    If the menora’s in public are such a Kiddush Hashem, why is there not a SINGLE Litvishe Rosh Yeshiva or Chassidishe Rebbe of note (from any movement other than the one that was mechadesh this concept) that promotes such behavior?

    My point is not whether or not they promoted this behaviour but if they deem it a CHILLUL HASHEM!

  52. G’ Kop,

    I am not Lubavitch and I’m not about to try and figure out all the othere ‘questions’ we have with them(MOshichisten etc) and just would like you to name another movement which made as many baalei Teshuvas as they did?

  53. I don’t know the M”A regarding the display of the taleeth on the street, and I look forward to seeing it.

    According to the paucity of my understanding, the taleeth may be distinguished by three things:
    It is a garment that is especially for
    prayer.
    The prophet alludes to the Messianic era
    when the aynaum yehudeem will latch onto
    its corners.
    Ashk’nazeem wear stripes on it which the AR”I
    z”l switched from blue to black to
    simulate the shuroth written in the
    Saefer haTorah.

    Perhaps there is some matter about “flying our colors” in public before the time of M”Tz, bb”A.
    * * * *
    With respect to meeting the CEO of JBA, one may recall that the company attempts to make all employees feel like part of a family. Meeting the head guy would encourage that.

  54. When Midwesterner quotes rabbi keller on the menorahs and on the lubavitcher rebbe i will tell you where the mogen avrohom is. I cant believe that the YW editor wouldnt post it. Plz dont be moitzee laaz on him, he is a good guy doing a good job. He doesnt bury the truth.

  55. pete, either quote the Magen Avrohom or withdraw your comments. Why are you afraid of telling us your source in the Magen Avrohom?

  56. R’ Pete: You were the one who first mentioned Rav Keller, I only responded. You also fired off about a mogen avrohom, with an accusation of am – aratzus (your spelling). If no Marei Makom is forthcoming, it looks like “Kol haposel b’mumo posel.” So I believe that the “ball is in your court”.

  57. I just spoke to a grandson of R’ Yaakov z”l – just got off the phone.
    He said his grandfather was against wearing a tallis in the street in the USA because Jews should remember they are in gulus.

    this is not an urban myth.

  58. Sorry I was away and unable to respond, sorry for you keeping you in suspense.
    The Mogen Avrohom is in Siman 25 of Orach Chaim, Sif Koton 5, I will paraphrase a drop… “Where there are aku”m in the streets, according to all shitos, you should put on your talis when coming to shul, and not at home.”
    Rav Yaakov was quoting the Mogen Avrohom, but nowadays no one knows anymore what it says in Shulchan Aruch, or in the Mogen Avrohom, so we quote stories and mayselach instead to derive halachos.
    And now dear midwesterner, the ball is in your court, don’t be ashamed to tell us what you have heard from your local rabbeim there. Wave that flag of Torah with pride, brother.

  59. pete, AWAY?! What chutzpa! With whose reshus!? Did you at least inform YW Editor prior to your departure?

    What do you think this is? This is YW! You must be on call 24/6.

  60. The Machtzis Hashekel there seems to say that it is permitted to NOT wear your tallis in the street in the way to shul if the goyim there are vicious. He doesn’t seem to say that it is ASSUR. (Though actually that is the impression the Mogen Avrohom gives in 554:5.)