Accommodations are usually handled easily but there are some significant mistakes you can make without intending that result.Barrie Gross is former Vice President and Senior Corporate Counsel (Employment Law) for an international Fortune 1000 company and is a regular contributor to All
And sometimes, voluntary shift switches between employees may solve the issue.
Other times, the religious belief or practice may require an exception to a work rule or policy.
No accommodation is required, however, if it would impose an undue hardship.
And again, undue hardship is a familiar term from the Americans with Disabilities Act but it is applied differently in the context of religious issues. For example, an employee who is prohibited by religious practice from working on the Sabbath may be given an alternative schedule.
Most times, this sort of accommodation is easily made and other employees with offices may offer use of their offices for the few minutes needed.
Keep in mind that if you accommodate prayers at work as required by an employee’s religion, other employees may approach you for permission to hold other types of religiously associated meetings.
In the context of accommodating religious beliefs and practices, undue hardship means the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on your organization’s legitimate business interests.
The employer must be able to prove that any accommodation would require more than ordinary business costs, diminish efficiency in other jobs, impair workplace safety, infringe on the rights and benefits of other employees, cause other coworkers to carry the burden of the accommodated employee’s hazardous or burdensome work, or conflict with other laws or regulations.
For example, some churchgoing employees may ask to use a conference room for monthly meetings of church-related social or business group.