Less colloquially, last Friday, the EEOC released this one-page fact sheet “designed to help young workers better understand their rights and responsibilities under the federal employment anti-discrimination laws prohibiting religious discrimination.” You can read the EEOC press release here.
In less than a page, what’s on the one-page fact sheet?
“Oh Homer, God didn’t burn your house down, but he was working in the hearts of your friends be they Christian, Jew, or… miscellaneous.” The EEOC quoted Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons? Not exactly. That is to say, not at all. My point here — I think there’s a point here — is that whatever religious beliefs your employees may have, as long as those beliefs are “sincerely held,” then the law protects them. Specifically, Title VII protects all employees from discrimination based on those sincerely-held beliefs.
The onus is then on the employee to let the employer know if he/she needs a religious accommodation. Here are five ways employers can stay on point with religious-accommodation requests. From the fact sheet, here’s an example of how it works:
John applies to work at a coffee shop during summer break. Marcus, the manager, assigns John to work a shift that begins at 7:00 a.m. John explains that he attends Mass every Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. and asks if he can work a later shift on those days. There are other shifts available, so Marcus agrees and schedules John to work later shifts on Wednesdays, and tells other managers to do the same. Marcus responded appropriately by changing John’s schedule to accommodate his religious practice.
If you’re religious too, well, then shout Hosanna (or your religious equivalent)! Just don’t impose your beliefs on your employees. Like, making your employees scream at ash trays is a no-no.
- The other rules applies too: Youngins should be encourage to report discrimination at work without any fear of retaliation.
You can also find the fact sheet and more about the EEOC’s outreach efforts at the EEOC’s Youth@Work website.