Accommodating religious beliefs in the workplace

Create Policy - Organizations are also encouraged to adopt policies that allow for flexibility in the number of days off for religious observance.

This approach is consistent with the understanding that accommodation is a means of removing the barriers which prevent persons from enjoying equality of opportunity in a way which is sensitive to their individual circumstances.

An employee who is required to use vacation days, unpaid leave or who has to change his or her work schedule in order to observe his or her holy days is suffering a burden for observing his or her religion -- something members of the majority religion are not required to do.3.

Discrimination may be permitted in circumstances that involve: For example, a religious school advertises a position for a pastoral care coordinator, and specifies that the successful applicant must be of the same faith as that held and taught by the school.

A person may also discriminate if the discriminatory action is necessary for them to comply with their genuine religious beliefs or principles.

Religious belief means holding, or not holding, a religious belief or view that is not against the law.

Religious activity means taking part, not taking part or refusing to take part in a religious activity that is not against the law.

As religious diversity in the American workplace increases, so does the importance of management’s understanding how to address conflicts that arise.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), responsible for enforcing the federal law prohibiting discrimination in commerce has recently published a guide to help employers with the task (“Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace,” January 31, 2011).

Complaints of discrimination made to the Commission are resolved through a process called conciliation.

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