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Religious accommodations in the workplace

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2016 | Workplace Discrimination |

There are many employees in Maryland who have religious beliefs that conflict with normal work requirements. Religious employees may not be able to work on religious holidays or on the days that they attend religious ceremonies. Some religious employees have strong beliefs about the way that they must dress or interact with members of the opposite sex.

Employers are obligated to provide religious employees with accommodations for their religious practices. If workers regularly attend church on Sundays, they will generally be allowed to have that day off. An employee who needs to pray periodically throughout the day may be allowed to take short breaks for this purpose. Workplace dress codes may also be altered to accommodate the practices of religious workers.

Though employers are required under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide reasonable accommodations to their religious employees, employers may refuse to do so in some circumstances. If a religious accommodation causes an undue hardship for an employer, the employer does not have to provide it. Some examples of religious accommodations that constitute undue hardship can include those that are very expensive to provide, that have a negative impact on workplace safety or that cause coworkers to be significantly burdened.

A worker who was refused a religious accommodation may want to speak to an employment law attorney about what happened. If an employer refused to accommodate a worker’s religious practices even though the practices would not have caused an undue hardship, it may be advisable to initiate the process by filing a workplace discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.