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Recent Decisions Regarding an Employee’s Right to Religious Accommodations

As the landscape of employment and discrimination law changes, you should be aware of your rights set out in laws and court decisions. Courts are constantly issuing new rulings that have an important effect on numerous employees and employers throughout the U.S. and the state of Florida. For this reason, if you believe your rights have been violated by your employer, it is always critical to have an attorney evaluate your situation who is thoroughly familiar with new developments in the law.

Recent Expansion Of Religious Accommodation Rights

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees in the United States are protected against discrimination and harassment based on their closely held religious beliefs and other protected factors. An employer also may not retaliate against anyone for complaining of religious discrimination. The law goes one step further when it comes to religion, however, and requires that an employer allow for reasonable accommodations for employees to be able to practice their religion. As long as the accommodation does not place an undue burden on the employer, the request for the accommodation should be honored. Some common accommodations include:

  • Exceptions to dress or grooming policies to wear religious headwear or grow facial hair for religious reasons.
  • Schedule changes to observe religious holidays or prayer times when possible.
  • Allowing them to display religious items in their work space.

In a recent case, the Supreme Court of the United States held that actual knowledge of the necessity of an accommodation is not required for an employer to violate Title VII. If the employer has a suspicion that an accommodation would be needed, they must not act with the particular motive of avoiding such an accommodation.

The case involved a woman who applied to work at Abercrombie & Fitch and was not hired. Samantha Elauf wears a hijab as part of her religious practice and Abercrombie has a policy against head wear. Abercrombie did not hire her out of concern that she wore the headscarf to the interview and the store believed she would violate their “look policy.” The court found that not hiring her on this basis was in violation of Title VII because religious discrimination was a motivating factor in the decision. This is an expansion of previous rulings that required an employee to specifically request an accommodation and the rights of employees to an accommodation have increased.

An Experienced Plantation Wage And Employment Law Attorney Can Defend Your Rights

If you are an employee who was wrongfully denied an appropriate religious accommodation or who has been the victim of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, you should not delay in discussing a potential legal claim with a qualified employment law attorney in Plantation, Florida. All employers should respect an employee’s right to proper accommodations and should never take adverse action against an employee for requesting such an accommodation. Please call the Law Office of Robert S. Norell, P.A. as soon as possible to begin protecting your rights.

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