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NYC Litigation Blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Religious Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 granted workers protection from religious discrimination in the employment setting. This means that both employees and prospective employees have the right to be free from discriminatory acts perpetrated by an employer in regard to everything from hiring to firing and terms and conditions of employment. Part of the protection from religious discrimination in the workplace means that a person has a right to “reasonable accommodations” should he or she have a true religious belief or practice that conflicts with the performance of an employment responsibility. The question then becomes what is a “reasonable accommodation?”

Religious Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation

If an employee has a bona fide religious belief or practice that comes into conflict with the performance of job duties, then that employee has the right to “reasonable accommodation” of the religious belief. The reasonable accommodation would work to neutralize the conflict between the religious belief or practice and the performance of job duties. The burden of finding reasonable accommodation falls on the employer, not the employee. The employee, however, may propose a solution, but the employer is under no obligation to accept the proposal. The employer has the right to select the preferred “reasonable accommodation.”

Religious practices that may come into conflict with workplace policies or procedures are actually quite varied. This is because religious practices can be varied. There is observance of particular holidays. Some religious have prescribed clothing types or hairstyles. Because of this, reasonable accommodations may take many forms. It may come in the form of not scheduling an employee to work on their Sabbath day. Reasonable accommodation may be making an exception to company dress code in order to allow for wearing certain religious garb.

It must be noted that there is a major exception to an employer having the responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations. The employer is not required to provide reasonable accommodation should it prove to be an undue hardship. There is, of course, no set definition of what would constitute an “undue hardship.” A court will weigh things such as the monetary cost an accommodation. It will also consider how accommodation may harm the morale of other employees or whether it significantly reduces job efficiency. Another consideration is whether the accommodation would infringe on the rights of other workers or cause safety issues.

New York City Employment Discrimination Attorney

Religious discrimination in the workplace is a serious matter. If you have been the victim of religious discrimination in the workplace, if your employer has failed to provide reasonable accommodations for your religion, talk to trusted employment discrimination attorney Thomas M. Lancia. He is here not only to help fight to enforce your right to be free from discrimination in the workplace, but to hold your employer accountable for what they have inflicted upon you. Contact Attorney Lancia today.


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