Accommodating religious beliefs in the workplace
The situation at York University involved a male student who claimed his religious beliefs prevented him from engaging in face-to-face group work with female students.The media attention that resulted in the disagreement between the student's professor and York University over how to accommodate the student's request shows just how difficult it can be for public institutions and employers to address this issue.
This requires accommodation of an employee based on the protected discriminatory ground to the point of undue hardship.
As the members of the 116th Congress were sworn in earlier this month, one Representative stood in violation of the 1837 House rule banning head coverings on the house floor.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Muslim, is the first Congressional representative to wear a hijab.
Employers are well advised to contact legal counsel at the outset of an employee request to accommodate religious beliefs or any other request for accommodation, in order to mitigate any potential for conflict, unwanted media attention or costly litigation.
Employers may not discriminate against employees or applicants based on their religious beliefs.