Understanding Workplace Rules Regarding Religion

As recent reports have surfaced about the conflict of religious practices and the workplace recently, new regulations have been put in place to accommodate religion and prevent discrimination. By following these laws, Indianapolis Employment Practices Liability can be reduced.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Title VII protects all aspects of religious observance, practice and belief, including attending worship services, praying, wearing religious garb or symbols, displaying religious objects, adhering to certain dietary rules, proselytizing or other forms of religious expression, or refraining from certain activities.

Employers are obligated to accommodate the worker’s religious requirements unless it causes undue hardship. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states “appropriate accommodations may include relieving the employee of the task or transferring the employee to a different position or location that eliminates the conflict.”

The EEOC characterizes undue hardship as infringing on the nature of the duty and transferring the tasks depends on whether or not there are other qualified workers who are available to perform the duty, as well. In addition, the employee may be switched to another position dependent on availability and seniority considerations. However, an essential function of a job may not be removed to accommodate a worker.

For example, Charee Stanley, a flight attendant, had recently converted to Islam and refused to serve alcoholic beverages to the passengers on her flight. When she refused to accept a position where serving alcohol was not an essential job function and coworkers protested about the added burden on them to serve the liquor, she was suspended in order for the airline to decipher a solution.

However, if the solution is “de minimis,” and requires minimal cost or burden to accommodate, the employer must follow through. While each case is subject to discussion, employers must make reasonable accommodations for employee’s beliefs. Similarly, employees are not able to avoid certain job functions.

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