Ask A Lawyer

Tell Us Your Case Information for Fastest Lawyer Match!

Please include all relevant details from your case including where, when, and who it involoves.
Case details that can effectively describe the legal situation while also staying concise generally receive the best responses from lawyers.


By submitting this lawyer request, I confirm I have read and agree to the Consent to Receive Email, Phone, Text Messages, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy. Information provided may not be privileged or confidential.

Religious Accommodation and Dress and Grooming Policies

by Joseph C. Maya on Jun. 19, 2017

Employment Employment Discrimination Employment 

Summary: A blog post about the creation of reasonable religious accommodations and why they are needed.

Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), interprets and enforces Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination by employers against employees based upon race, color, gender, religion, sex, age, genetic information, or national origin.

Under Title VII, an employer or other covered entity is required to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the operations of the employer’s business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment or schedule that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion.

WHAT FALLS UNDER THE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION REQUIREMENT

This reasonable accommodation requirement on employers applies not only to schedule changes or leave for religious observances, but also to such things as dress or grooming practices that an employee has for religious reasons.  These might include, for example, wearing particular head coverings or other religious dress (such as a Jewish yarmulke or a Muslim headscarf), or wearing certain hairstyles or facial hair (such as Rastafarian dreadlocks or Sikh uncut hair and beard).  Such a request may also include an employee’s observance of a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments (such as pants or miniskirts).

WHEN AN EMPLOYEE CAN SEEK A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

If an employer has a specific grooming policy which runs afoul to the religious beliefs or practices of an employee, an employee may seek a reasonable accommodation.  When an employee or applicant needs a dress or grooming accommodation for religious reasons, they should notify the employer of that need.  If the employer reasonably needs more information, the employer and the employee should engage in an interactive process to discuss the request. If it would not pose an undue hardship, the employer must grant the accommodation.

However, not all accommodation requests must be granted by an employer.  An employer does not have to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer. An accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.

An employer must take seriously any and all requests by their employees regarding exemptions of any personal grooming or wardrobe polices as an employee may be deemed to have invoked their right to a reasonable accommodation with their request.  When such a reasonable accommodation request has been made, the burden shifts to the employer to show that the employee is not eligible for such, or that the accommodation would be an undue hardship upon the employer.

If you are an employer and are faced with an employee claim of discrimination under Title VII, or are facing a claim under jurisdiction of the EEOC, contact the experienced employment law attorneys today at 203-221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com. We have the experience and knowledge you need at this critical juncture. We serve clients in both New York and Connecticut including New Canaan, Bridgeport, White Plains, and Darien.


Source: eeoc.gov

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer

Lawyer.com is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on Lawyer.com is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by Lawyer.com. The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, Lawyer.com recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See Lawyer.com's full Terms of Use for more information.