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Workplace Accommodations for Religious Beliefs

Sep 06, 2023

Businesses cannot make employment decisions based on religious preferences. This includes hiring, firing and promotions, making certain job assignments to one religion over the other and this includes all religions. 

Employers cannot only hire certain religions. In addition to not treating certain people differently or only hiring a certain religion, employers with at least 15 employees must  make reasonable adjustments or changes or accomodation to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion. So if an employee needs to take time off on Friday night off for Shabbat or time off for Diwali, or the employee can’t work on Sundays because of Church, he/she might be able to receive an accommodation to the employee/s work schedule.

 Here is an example- the employer has a strict uniform policy- short skirt and tank top, but an employee needs to wear a yarmulke (which is a Jewish head covering) or tzitzit (which are religious tassels),

 Or the dress code requires long pants, but your religion requires long shirts only.

Finally, the business has a clean shaven policy, and the employee has a long beard for religious beliefs.

 Employers may need to accommodate these requests, unless it creates an actual undue hardship which would prevent them from allowing it.

If an employee requests a change to a policy at work because of his/her religious belief, the employer should engage in the interactive process and speak with the employee about it. 

Karly Wannos, Esq., of the Wannos Law Firm, PA is an employment attorney in Florida. She helps companies comply with the employment laws through legal guidance, customized workshops and trainings and preparation of legal documents and employee handbooks.

Connect with Karly Wannos at The Wannos Law Firm, Instagram and Linkedin and on The Employment Experience Podcast.



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