The holiday season is upon us again. The holidays are not only a time for families to come together, but people love to take festivities into the workplace. Because many holidays are religious-based, here are a few employer rights and employee rights that you should be aware of.
Employer and Employee Rights Surrounding Holidays
You are responsible for reasonable accommodation: “An employer must try to arrange to allow the employee to meet religious obligations.” This ranges from acknowledging the need for days off or needing time during the work day for religious practices.
You can claim undue hardship, “…if accommodating an employee’s religious practices requires anything more than ordinary administrative costs, diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other employees’ job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety, causes coworkers to carry the accommodated employee’s share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation.”
You cannot ask about religious affiliations during the interview process.
You have the right to wear religious garments. Garbs or religious symbols are allowed to be worn in the workplace so long as they do not cause harm or safety concerns to other employees.
You are responsible for telling your employer, “…about the religious commitment at the time the job is accepted, or immediately upon becoming observant or aware of the need for an accommodation.”
You cannot claim religious accommodation because of political or personal preferences to when you work.
Possibly the most important take away is to remember that when you are at work you are in a public community and everyone’s religious rights in the workplace should be under consideration. Rules regarding religious rights are in place to protect both the employee and employer, so ideally, any conflict or harm can be avoided.
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Asha Wilkerson is the founder of The Wilkerson Law Office. Ms. Wilkerson provides skilled advice and counsel to for-profit, non-profit, and faith-based organizations in the areas of business and employment law. The mission of The Wilkerson Law Office, is to preserve the longevity of your business by ensuring that every aspect of your organization is legally sound and operating in compliance with state and federal law.