Accommodating religious beliefs

24-Jul-2017 19:08

A religious belief or practice can sometimes come into conflict with safety requirements or regulations.If there is no accommodation that would address the safety concerns, the accommodation would not be reasonable because it causes an undue hardship.This article is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments or be complete.Some children in child care have special dietary requirements.For example, suppose an employee’s religion requires that he or she wear particular clothes that are considered hazardous if worn near moving equipment or machinery.Unless there is another type of clothing that would meet the employee’s religious needs, permitting the employee to work in those clothes may be an undue hardship because of legitimate safety rules or regulations.The challenge, however, can be determining to what extent an employee’s religious objection to a particular work requirement is, in fact, “sincerely held.” One way to do that is to talk with the employee and find out what you can without pressing too hard on what may be private matters.If it is a sincerely held religious belief or practice, employers must provide a reasonable accommodation.

Check with your legal counsel in the specific circumstance, but in most cases your accommodation to allow prayers that are required during the workday does not obligate you to open your facilities to all other religiously associated causes represented by your employees.Sometimes, an employee’s religious beliefs or practices can be in conflict with job requirements.