Category: Religious Discrimination

Biometric Attendance Scanner or “Mark of the Beast”?:  How an Employee’s Unusual Religious Belief Cost the Employer $600,000.

Biometric Attendance Scanner or “Mark of the Beast”?: How an Employee’s Unusual Religious Belief Cost the Employer $600,000.

A recent case from the Fourth Circuit illustrates the risks for employers posed by the obligation to reasonably accommodate religious objections to workplace rules and practices under Title VII.  How should an employer handle accommodation requests based on religious beliefs that the employer views as misguided or even crazy?  A sincere religious belief, even if non-traditional or highly idiosyncratic, must...

Quirky Question #210, Employee Meals – Vegan Beliefs as a Religion

Quirky Question #210, Employee Meals – Vegan Beliefs as a Religion

Question: We subsidize a different meal in our employee cafeteria each week.  For example, last week hamburgers were only $2.00 instead of $5.00.  Usually we subsidize meat dishes.  A vegan employee has protested we do not similarly subsidize vegan dishes and has stated that our failure to do so constitutes religious discrimination.  This can’t be correct – right?

Quirky Question #202, Religious Accommodation

Quirky Question #202, Religious Accommodation

Question: We have a group of employees who are Muslim and want to be allowed to take additional prayer breaks during Ramadan.   We would rather just have them take the whole day off as vacation rather than work a different shift than other employees with long breaks interspersed throughout the day.  Aren’t we safe telling them that they should take...

Quirky Question # 181: Weekend Work and Religious Accommodations

Quirky Question # 181: Weekend Work and Religious Accommodations

Question: Our company operates seven days a week. Periodically, employees advise us that working on Saturdays or Sundays interferes with their religious beliefs. When possible, we let employees juggle their schedules to accommodate the belief systems of their co-workers. And, sometimes, we require our employees to adjust their schedules to accommodate their co-workers. Every now and then, however, accommodations are...

Another Religious Accommodation Issue, Quirky Question # 122

Another Religious Accommodation Issue, Quirky Question # 122

Quirky Question # 122: I read the religious discrimination question posed to your colleague in Seattle.  We have a slightly different issue.  All of our employees are required to wear identification tags when they are in our buildings.  The IDs have their pictures on them.  One of our employees recently advised us that it violated his religious beliefs to have...

Accommodating Religious Beliefs, Quirky Question # 120

Accommodating Religious Beliefs, Quirky Question # 120

Quirky Question # 120: Our retail company has mandatory weekly sales meetings which occur across town from one of the store branches.  Each week, our store branch manager and his four salespersons must come from across town to the sales meeting.  Many of the salespersons are part-time employees and students, and consequently take public transportation to work.  The employees who...

Long Hair and Religion, Quirky Question # 95

Long Hair and Religion, Quirky Question # 95

Quirky Question # 95: I read with interest your analyses of beards and facial jewelry in the context of religious discrimination claims.  Maybe I’m beating this topical horse to death, but we’ve encountered a situation where an employee is claiming that his long hair is linked to his religious beliefs.  He refuses to cut his hair despite our clear “grooming...

Nose Rings, Facial Jewelry and Religion, Quirky Question # 92

Nose Rings, Facial Jewelry and Religion, Quirky Question # 92

Quirky Question # 92: We have an employee who wears a nose ring.  Because she interacts regularly with the public, and because we have a “no facial jewelry” policy, we asked her to remove the nose ring.  She claims, however, that she wears the nose ring for “religious” reasons.  We’ve asked her to inform us of the religion that requires...

Religious Discrimination — Beards; Quirky Question # 88

Religious Discrimination — Beards; Quirky Question # 88

Quirky Question # 88: We have various policies at our company relating to the appearance of our employees.  One of those policies is that our male employees must be clean shaven.  Several of our employees are protesting that policy on the ground that it constitutes religious discrimination.  Come again?  Is this legit?  Do we have to accommodate the requests of...

Conflicts Between Religion and Other Discriminatory Prohibitions, Quirky Question # 58

Conflicts Between Religion and Other Discriminatory Prohibitions, Quirky Question # 58

Quirky Question # 58: I read with interest your last question about a company’s obligation to accommodate an individual’s religious beliefs, assuming that it would not cause an undue hardship to the employer.  We have a slightly different problem.  One of our employee’s religious beliefs would appear to be in conflict with our anti-discrimination prohibitions. Acknowledging the changing composition of...