Utah Employment Law Letter - January 2014: Religious Discrimination: Can’t be covered up: Applicant must request religious accommodation

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Often, employees and applicants hold religious beliefs and engage in religious practices that conflict with workplace rules and employment practices. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 typically requires employers to “reasonably accommodate” religious beliefs, practices, and observances unless the accommodation results in “undue hardship.” A reasonable accommodation is something that eliminates the conflict between a religious practice and the work requirement.

Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed several lawsuits against clothing retailers involving conflicts between dress codes and religious dress practices. One of those cases went before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to Utah employers). The court concluded that an employee or applicant must ask for a religious accommodation from a dress code before an employer has a duty to accommodate....

Originally published in the Utah Employment Law Letter - January 2014.

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