Accommodating employees religious beliefs

Courts have determined that both "disparate treatment" (different treatment due to the employee's religion) or a failure to "reasonably accommodate" an employee's religious belief or practice (absent employer undue hardship) are forms of unlawful religious discrimination in employment. Is there notification or reason to know that a reasonable religious accommodation may be appropriate? If so, initiate communication with the employee concerning possible accommodations. Religious faiths and religious educational institutions may discriminate on the basis of religion in employment decisions.

Precisely what is a "reasonable accommodation" in a specific situation? Note that not only must the employee have a bona fide religious belief, she or he must typically inform the employer of this belief. The accommodation process involves cooperation and dialogue and cannot be unilaterally undertaken by either party. Listen to the employee's request and why the employee wants it. An employer does not have to provide the employee with her or his requested accommodation if the employer prefers to provide a different but reasonable alternative. An employer needs to be factually objective concerning what accommodation is reasonable or might create an undue hardship. Additionally, when an employee's conduct is contrary to the religious principles of the religious institution, the employee may be terminated.

It is recommended that employers provide anti-harassment training with solid examples and testing on a regular basis for all employees.

Employers must create the expectation and the supportive culture that provides a harassment-free workplace for employees.

Conditions of employment include decisions about promotions, job transfers, attire not in the dress code that is required by religious beliefs, and providing the time necessary for religious practice.

Last modified 15-May-2017 19:08