This week, the EEOC issued three new publications on religious discrimination: a new chapter in its Compliance Manual, a Q&A, and Best Practices for Eradicating Religious Discrimination in the Workplace. While these documents are not binding, and a court is free to interpret Title VII as it sees fit, it is always good to know how the EEOC views the workplace discrimination landscape.
The Best Practices will prove to be the most helpful for employers. It's not earth shattering, but does give businesses a helpful synopsis of standards that will help minimize liability, such as:
- Carefully and timely recording the accurate business reasons for disciplinary or performance-related actions.
- Ensuring that an anti-harassment policy covers religious harassment.
- Training managers and supervisors on how to recognize religious accommodation requests from employees, and developing internal procedures for processing religious accommodation requests.
- Making an individualized decision instead of one based on stereotypes in determining whether a request for an accommodation poses an undue hardship