June 20, 2016

Religion is much in the news today, with political candidates raising controversial issues about Muslim Americans and the resulting fallout. Understandably, your employees may be talking about these issues and more, wondering if prayer is allowed at work, whether certain kinds of clothing must be accommodated and more. 

A good source of guidance on these issues is the EEOC, 
While these guidelines don't answer every issue, they do address some questions and will help you understand the issues. In general, you have a right to express your religious beliefs at work but not to proselytize. Where is the line between those things? Employers' have to accommodate religious expression in the workplace if they can do so "reasonably", but not if to do so would create an undue burden. 

"Educate yourself about the potential kinds of religious expression 
that might be allowed in the workplace"
I'm working with a client right now where this question is especially difficult since one group wants to pray before lunch in a public place and another group would prefer not to have any religious expression at work. How do you accommodate the rights of both groups?
Managers always ask me who decides what's reasonable? Who decides what's an undue burden? If you're a manager or executive, you're on the front lines of making these decisions so initially, you decide, presumably with the help of HR. If someone complains, of course, the decision would ultimately be made as a question of fact by a court or a jury. 
What Should You Do?
Don't dismiss requests for religious accommodation out of hand. Educate yourself about the potential kinds of religious expression that might be allowed in the workplace, the difference between expression and proselytizing, and seek guidance from HR or legal before making a decision.

Did You Know?

All of our workshops for managers and supervisors include education on religious accommodation in the workplace.  
Call or write us for more information: 303-216-1020 or 

Be sure to read Lynne's books on how to handle tough conversations with your employees and your boss.

Workplaces That Work | (303) 216-1020 | [email protected] 
3985 Wonderland Hill Suite 106 Boulder, CO 80304
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