You May Have A Right To Religious Accommodations
A person’s religious beliefs may strongly influence how people live, , what they eat or how they should dress, among other things. However, some forms of religious expressions may feel unwelcome in the workplace. In order to continue practicing religious beliefs, employees should be able to request workplace adjustments if necessary.
According to the law, employers must generally respect employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and practices and prevent any form of discrimination based on such factors. Unless it would cause financial or administrative difficulties – an undue hardship – they must also provide reasonable accommodations for the employee to engage in these activities.
Religious practices include wearing or displaying religious objects, following dietary restrictions, praying and attending worship services.
You may be a victim of religious discrimination if your employer or coworkers force you to do something against your beliefs. It may also be unlawful to make offensive jokes and engage in other activities that foster a hostile work environment.
Religious workplace accommodations
While some businesses are guilty of discrimination in the workplace, others may be willing to make adjustments. Here are some workplace modifications you may consider asking your employer:
Flexible work schedule
Religious observance days may conflict with your work schedule. Check if your employer is amenable to staggered work hours, paid time off, flexible scheduling or shift swaps so you can make up for lost time.
Dress code and grooming exception
Many companies set standards for grooming and dressing in the workplace. However, you can ask for an exception if these policies conflict with your religious beliefs. Unless it would pose an undue hardship on your employer, not accommodating your request may be considered discrimination.
However, companies may continue to implement restrictions if there are health and safety concerns, especially if you work in health care, manufacturing, the hospitality industry, fire departments, or law enforcement.
Employers may be worried that religious practices, such as prayer or Bible studies, may disrupt other employees at work. You may ask your employer to designate a private area for observing religious practices.
Good employers should be open to these adjustments and provide their employees with a safe workplace free from harassment. If you are subjected to discrimination, you should report the matter to your supervisor or human resources. If your report receives no attention, you may contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a lawyer.