The issue is whether or not she was denied a request for leave due to religious and/or racial discrimination, which may be illegal relative to the civil rights act.
To me it's completely absurd. FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks unpaid leave that has to be legally granted, but that's for family/medical reasons only. notice you can't just choose not to have medical issues that require leave, and arguably you won't sanely choose to have medical issues. You can't control if your parents have major medical issues suddenly, etc.
You can choose your religion, and choose to observe or not observe certain aspects of it. But more importantly, what differentiates religious validity? Nothing. Anyone can make up any nonsense religion, come up with some goofy-ass "requirements", and then suddenly they all need to be granted leave? Administrators are supposed to be able to evaluate an infinite number of religions, their validity, or fear a law suit? My vote is, no way. Hopefully everyone else they have granted leave recently is covered under FMLA or for maternity/paternity.