Employers: You May Need to Accommodate

By: Christina M. Reger 
Maybe they don’t have enough to do, or maybe they need to increase revenues, whatever the reason, the EEOC last week issued a Fact Sheet to educate younger workers on their rights and remedies regarding religious discrimination. 
Specifically, the Fact Sheet was “designed to help young workers better understand their rights and responsibilities under the federal employment anti-discrimination laws prohibiting religious discrimination.” The EEOC press release can be found here
Combating Religious Discrimination Today, a community engagement initiative coordinated by the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, brought together EEOC and other federal agencies to promote religious freedom, challenge religious discrimination, and enhance efforts to combat religion-based hate violence and crimes.  

What does this mean for me, the employer? 
It means that whatever your employee’s religious beliefs are, or no matter how crazy they seem, as long as they are “sincerely held,” they are protected. 
But, it is the employee’s burden to let the employer know that he/she needs a religious accommodation. 
So, if you can accommodate the request without much disruption — even if it sounds crazy –, do it and avoid potentially bigger problems. And, remember, retaliating against someone who complains about religious discrimination could also land you in hot water. 

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