Accommodating religious beliefs and practices in the workplace, the right to an accommodation

Refusing to accommodate religious practices under circumstances where doing so would impose an undue hardship is not an unlawful employment practice. Are employers required to accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of applicants and employees? If the employer requests additional information reasonably needed to evaluate the request, the employee should provide it. Nothing presented on this site or in this article establishes or should be construed as establishing an attorney-client or confidential relationship between you and Barrie Gross. However, even in these situations, a case-by-case determination is advisable.

To complete your subscription, please check your inbox for a recent email from Allbusiness Editors. Undue hardship based on cost requires that the agency show more than a de minimis minimal impact upon the agency's business cost to the agency. If the accommodation solution is not immediately apparent, the employer should discuss the request with the employee to determine what accommodations might be effective. It includes traditional, organized religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, hook and Buddhism.

Religious grooming practices may relate, for example, to shaving or hair length. The prohibition against disparate treatment based on religion also applies to disparate treatment of religious expression in the workplace. What are some common religious accommodations sought in the workplace? Some private employers choose to express their own religious beliefs or practices in the workplace, and they are entitled to do so. If it would not pose an undue hardship, best italian dating website the employer must grant the accommodation.

Accommodating Religious Beliefs and Practices in the Workplace
  • Religious Discrimination and Accommodation in the Federal Workplace.
  • She is the founder of Barrie Gross Consulting, a human resources training and consulting firm dedicated to assisting companies to manage and develop their human capital.
  • What should an applicant or employee do if he believes he has experienced religious discrimination?
  • They should keep records documenting what they experienced or witnessed, as well as other witness names, telephone numbers, and addresses.

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She alleged that North Memorial had discriminated against her because of her religious practices. North Memorial advised Ondara that the union agreement required work every other weekend, and if she was unable to do so, the position might be offered to a different candidate. The Eighth Circuit agreed with the district court and affirmed. If there is no accommodation that would address the safety concerns, the accommodation would not be reasonable because it causes an undue hardship.

  1. However, it only allows religious organizations to prefer to employ individuals who share their religion.
  2. Nonetheless, many religious beliefs and practices are capable of being accommodated and employers should fully understand their obligations.
  3. Infrequent payment of overtime to employees who substitute shifts is not considered an undue hardship.

Accommodating Religious Beliefs and Practices in the Workplace

However, none of these factors is dispositive. An employer also should not assume that an employee is insincere simply because some of his or her practices deviate from the commonly followed tenets of his or her religion. And sometimes, voluntary shift switches between employees may solve the issue.

WYSK Workplace Religious Accommodation

Reasonable Accommodation for Religious Beliefs
Questions and Answers about Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Do national origin, race, color, will amy and and religious discrimination intersect in some cases? The employer is not required to give precedence to the use of the facility for religious reasons over use for a business purpose. One of the three judges on the panel dissented.

Some practices are religious for one person, but not religious for another person, such as not working on Saturday or on Sunday. If a schedule change would impose an undue hardship, the employer must allow co-workers to voluntarily substitute or swap shifts to accommodate the employee's religious belief or practice. Whether the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law will also be considered. An agency may justify a refusal to accommodate an individual's religious beliefs or practices if the agency can demonstrate that the accommodation would cause an undue hardship.


Accommodation requests often relate to work schedules, dress and grooming, or religious expression in the workplace. The extent to which the expression is directed at a particular employee is relevant to determining whether or when it could reasonably be perceived to be severe or pervasive by that employee. That is not an unlawful employment practice.

Accommodating Religious Practices in the Workplace. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person's religious beliefs or practices. Customer preference or co-worker disgruntlement does not justify denying a religious accommodation. In most cases, whether or not a practice or belief is religious is not an issue.

After considering the situation, North Memorial decided to withdraw the conditional offer of employment. If it is a sincerely held religious belief or practice, employers must provide a reasonable accommodation. Employees or job applicants should attempt to address concerns with the alleged offender and, if that does not work, report any unfair or harassing treatment to the company. As such, it is not objectively hostile.

Most times, this sort of accommodation is easily made and other employees with offices may offer use of their offices for the few minutes needed. If a religious practice actually conflicts with a legally mandated security requirement, an employer need not accommodate the practice because doing so would create an undue hardship. Religious dress may include clothes, head or face coverings, jewelry, or other items.

Practice Areas Employment Law Employment issues can arise at every stage of the employment process. It also includes religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, or only held by a small number of people. This article is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments or be complete.

Our Experienced Attorneys Employment Law. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the Department, such as a contractor. Sutton Sara Frankenstein Talbot J.

It is important to consider that an individual's religious beliefs may change over time. Despite this knowledge, Ondara did not inform North Memorial that her religious beliefs prohibited her from working from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Applicants and employees may obtain exceptions to rules or policies in order to follow their religious beliefs or practices.

Undue hardship also may be shown if the request for an accommodation violates the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or job rights established through a seniority system. What other protections might apply, and where can I get more information? Some courts have made an exception for harassment claims where they concluded that analysis of the case would not implicate these constitutional constraints.

Questions and Answers Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

If you have a legal issue or wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult an attorney in your area concerning your particular situation and facts. The same practice might be engaged in by one person for religious reasons and by another person for purely secular reasons e. For example, some churchgoing employees may ask to use a conference room for monthly meetings of church-related social or business group. If you need assistance with drafting proper employment policies or other employment-related issues, please do not hesitate to call Don Knudsen at or email at dknudsen gpna.

What You Should Know About Workplace Religious Accommodation

Reasonable Accommodation for Religious Beliefs

Religious Discrimination and Accommodation in the Federal Workplace

Employer-employee cooperation and flexibility are key to the search for a reasonable accommodation. Does an employer have to provide an accommodation that would violate a seniority system or collective bargaining agreement? For example, an employee who is prohibited by religious practice from working on the Sabbath may be given an alternative schedule. Religious beliefs include theistic beliefs i. Others may seek to proselytize by engaging in one-on-one discussions regarding religious beliefs, distributing literature, or using a particular religious phrase when greeting others.

There may be limited situations in which the need for uniformity of appearance is so important that modifying the dress code would pose an undue hardship. And again, undue hardship is a familiar term from the Americans with Disabilities Act but it is applied differently in the context of religious issues. He cited a case from the United States Supreme Court and decisions by other Courts of Appeals which he contended reached the opposite conclusion as the Eighth Circuit in this case. Where the religiously oriented expression is limited to use of a phrase or greeting, it is more difficult for the employer to demonstrate undue hardship.

To prove undue hardship, the employer will need to demonstrate how much cost or disruption a proposed accommodation would involve. Always consult with your human resources or legal department before talking with an employee about religious accommodation issues. An applicant or employee who seeks religious accommodation must make the employer aware both of the need for accommodation and that it is being requested due to a conflict between religion and work. What if an employee objects on religious grounds to an employer-sponsored program?

In most cases, that will take care of it. That could be an office or conference room, or an otherwise separate area where the employees can pray in private. Because the law should not vary depending on where you live in the United States, the United States Supreme Court may be asked to resolve the inconsistencies. An employer is liable for harassment by co-workers where it knew or should have known about the harassment, japanese translated and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.

The Right to an Accommodation

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