Discrimination Attorney Discusses Religious Discrimination and the Holiday Season

/cdklawyers.com// 11/24/2011

Upon entering the holiday season, many employers and employees express confusion over an employer’s obligation to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs. Keith Clouse, a Dallas discrimination law attorney, offers insight.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer with at least 15 employees from discriminating against an employee based on the employee’s religion. This includes denying an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation of the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs if the accommodation would not impose more than a de minimis cost or burden on the employer’s business operations.


During the holiday season, an employee may ask for time off or for a shift change so that the employee can attend a religious service. An employer may be able to accommodate such a request by establishing “floating holidays” whereby an employee chooses which holiday vacation days to take. Alternatively, an employer could make a good faith effort to allow employees to voluntarily swap shifts to accommodate a religious conflict. An employer does not have to permit such a substitution if doing so would impose more than a de minimis cost or burden to the business operations (such as requiring the employer to pay overtime pay frequently to the employee covering the shift).


To avoid misunderstandings this holiday season, employers and employees should discuss holiday policies and scheduling issues in advance. For more information about employment law, contact Mr. Clouse and the employment law specialists of Clouse Dunn LLP at [email protected]



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Clouse Dunn LLP

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