On January 10, 1975, the training program of the Šiauliai LAD manufacturing firm fired the painter Mečislovas Jurevičius because on 11/10/74, 12/7/74, 12/25/74 and 1/6/75 he observed religious holidays and absented himself from work on those days. Jurevičius petitioned the Šiauliai People's Court regarding the unjustified dismissal from work. However the court rejected his claim. The Šiauliai lawyers which Jurevičius contacted for legal assistance refused to help him. Prosecutor J. Pi-varas who attended the trial, did not defend Jurevičius' right to the job which was violated by the Šiauliai city people's court when it upheld the order of the Šiauliai LAD manufacturing firm management to dismiss Jurevičius from work. Industrial law expert (Mrs) M. Čepulienė was not able to explain to the court that the internal work regulations of the training program of the Šiauliai LAD manufacturing firm conflict with the USSR Constitution, art. 124 and the LSSR Constitution, art. 96 and that the LSSR Criminal Code art. 143 provides penalties for this. Moreover, Jurevičius' statement was not read at the public court session.
To: The People's Court of the City of Šiauliai A Statement from: Jurevičius, Mečislovas, son of Jurgis, residing in the city of Šiauliai, at Žemaitės g. 102, apt. 10.
I have worked as a painter in the training program of the Šiauliai LAD manufacturing firm for over nine years. During that time no fines were imposed on me. On January 10, 1975, persuant to Order No. 4 from the firm's Director, I was dismissed from work because I was absent from work on 11/10/74, 12/8/74, 12/25/74 and 1/6/75. I gave written notice to the firm's management prior to being absent and explained that those days are obligatory religious holidays and that ir is my duty, as a conscietious Catholic, to observe them. Disregarding my prior notices and explanations, the Director transformed my religious convictions and freedom of conscience, which is guaranteed by art. 124 of the USSR Constitution and art. 96 of the LSSR Constitution, and upheld by art. 143 of the LSSR Criminal Code, into absenteeism and thus violated my right to work and the right to freely practice my religion. The same violation was committed by the local union, when it endorsed my dismissal from work for religious convictions. In this context, I ask the people's court to recognize that my religious convictions and the obligations inherent in them are not a violation of work regulations, that this does not strip me of my right to work. I, therefore, ask to be reinstated by the same iirm as painter, with pay for forced absence. Šiauliai, January 31, 1975."
To: The People's Court of the City of Šiauliai A Statement from: Jurevičius, Mečislovas, son of Jurgis residing in the City of Šiauliai, at Žemaitės g. 102, apt. 10
On January 10, 1975 I was dismissed from work by the union committee of the Šiauliai LAD manufacturing firm. The reason for my dismissal: four days of "absenteeism." I would like to state the following: I have worked at the firm since October "z. 1965. During all those years I committed no offenses, I received no warnings, reprimands or the like. On the contrary, I achieved 160% of my work quota. For my irreproachable work I received mention in the Šiauliai newspaper Red Flag and was presented with the "loyalty" honor award and certificate. I had absolutely no misunderstandings with either the management or my coworkers. Now I have been dismissed not for disrupting the plan, but because I am a conscientious Catholic, a religious man, and avail myself of the rights granted me by the USSR Constitution, (art. 124 of the USSR Constitution, and art. 143 of the Criminal Code, which clearly guarantee citizens the freedom to carry out their religious obligations).
I consider my dismissal from work illegal, based on the above-mentioned laws and the interpretation of work regulations (Internal work order regulations, Chapter VI, Par. 57, which deals with dismissal from work for absenteeism without justification). I did not come to work on the basis of the Constitution and the laws, with justification. Moreover, I clearly detailed in my statements the reasons for not coming to work and promised to make up those days on free days or during vacation. I am clearly supported by the May 12, 1966 ruling of the LSSR Supreme Soviet Presidium "regarding the application of art. 143 of the LSSR Criminal Code," which states that the decision to dismiss citizens from work must be made independently from their religious views. Articles 143 and 145 of the Criminal Code not only support my claim but place the blame on those who have illegally dismissed me from work.
Based on the above, I ask that the decision of the LAD firm management to dimiss me be overruled, that I be reinstated and paid for forced absence.
In the name of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
Šiauliai February 19, 1975
The People's Court of the City of Šiauliai, consisting of the Chairman, People's Judge B. Šumauskas, and People's Councillors A. Čeiliutka and A. Danielius, Recording Secretary (Mrs) D. Trukienė, in the presence of Prosecutor J. Pivoras, the plaintiff M. Jurevičius and attorney for the defense (Mrs) M. Čepulienė, considered in open court session the civil suit of Jurevičius, M., against the training program of the Šiauliai LAD manufacturing firm regarding his return to work and ruled:
The plaintiff worked as painter for the defendant since 1965. On January 10, 1975 he was dismissed from work, under art. 43, par. 4 of the LSSR Code of Work Regulations, namely, for absenteeism. The plaintiff asks to be reinstated and paid for forced absence, because on 11/10/74, 12/8/74, 12/25/74 and also 1/8/75—religious holidays—he did not go to work because of his religious convictions. He notified the management in advance about his absence from work. He feels that under article 124 of the LSSR Constitution he is exercising freedom of conscience. The defendant asks that the suit be dismissed. The suit is dismissed because the plaintiff was absent from work on work days without permission from the management, and therefore was guilty of absenteeism. The plaintiff cannot justify this absenteeism as an exercise of religious convictions, because this violates internal work regulations which govern all employees. Art. 124 of the USSR Constitution has not been violated because no one is forbidding the plaintiff to believe, but, since under the Constitution the Church is separate from the State, work-days cannot be compared with religious holidays. Under art. 241 of the LSSR Code of Work Regulations, the ruling can be appealed within ten days to the LSSR Supreme Court through the Šiauliai People's Court. People's Judge B. Šumauskas
To: The LSSR Supreme Court Panel on Civil Cases Plaintiff Jurevičius, M.J., residing in Šiauliai, at Žemaitės g. 102, apt. 10, in the 1975 civil case against the defendant Šiauliai LAD manufacturing firm regarding his reinstatement to work.
According to the February 19, 1975 ruling of the people's Court of the City of Šiauliai, my suit to be reinstated to my job was rejected. This judgement I consider to be cancellable.
I have been employed by the defendant as a worker since October 2, 1965. During the entire work span, I received no disciplinary fines. I was many times praised for my work. I was dismissed from work on January 10, 1975 by Order No. 4-K under art. 43, par. 4 of the Code of Work Regulations for absenteeism on 11/10/74, 12/8/74, 12/25/74 and 1/6/75.
I must point out that I am not guilty of absenteeism. I am a religious man and did not work on the above-mentioned days because of religious holidays. Before each religious holiday named, I notified the management in writing that I would not be able to work on those days and why. I agreed to make up those days on other free days. I am not involved in training work and therefore feel that such a request can be fully carried out. This is not against the Constitution of the Soviet Union. Everyone has freedom of conscience. I wish to exercise it also. I see no obstacle to this. The People's Court of the City of Šiauliai disregarded all the above-mentioned circumstances. I feel this is unjust.
I ask that the February 19, 1975 ruling of the People's Court of the City of Šiauliai in this case be overturned and that I be reinstated in my job, having established that I am not guilty of absenteeism, but did not work because of religious convictions, and, therefore, such absenteeism is justified.
February 26, 1975 M. Jurevičius
The LSSR Supreme Court panel on civil cases, composed of President M. Čapskis and Members L. Miežėnas and J. Radzevičius, in the presence of Prosecutor (Mrs) D. Kazakaitienė and Plaintiff M. Jurevičius, in open court session considered the appeal of the civil suit brought by the plaintiff M. Jurevičius against the Šiauliai LAD manufacturing form for reinstatement to his job. After deliberation, the court panel made the following ruling: the plaintiff worked at the firm as painter. The defendant dismissed the plaintiff from work on January 10, 1975 for absenteeism without justification. The plaintiff asks to be reinstated, indicating that he was absent from work for justifiable reasons. The People's Court of the City of Šiauliai ruled against the plaintiff on February 19, 1975. In his appeal, the plaintiff asks that the court's ruling be overturned and that he be reinstated at his job. The prosecutor has moved that the appeal be rejected, the appeal is rejected. It has been established that the plaintiff was absent from work on 11/10/74, 12/8/74, 12/25/74 and 1/6/75. The plaintiff was systematically guilty of absenteeism without justifiable reason. The court has rejected the suit in accordance with art. 43, par. 4 of the USSR Code of Work Regulations. There is no basis for an appeal. The Civil Court of Appeals, based on art. 335 of the Communist Party Central Committee, has decided to reject the appeal of M. Jurevičius. The February 19,1975 ruling of the People's Court of the City of Šiauliai stands.
President M. Čapskis,
members L. Miežėnas and J. Radzevičius