EEOC Issues New Guidance on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace

The EEOC has issued two new publications addressing workplace rights and responsibilities with respect to religious dress and grooming under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The question-and-answer guide and the accompanying fact sheet provide a discussion of the applicable law, advice for employers and employees, and case examples based on the EEOC’s litigation.

The new publication, “Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities,” and its accompanying fact sheet cover numerous topics, including:  1) prohibiting job segregation, such as assigning an employee to a non-customer service position because of his or her religious garb; 2) how employers can accommodate religious grooming or garb practices while ensuring the employers’ workplace needs; 3) how to avoid workplace harassment based on religion which may occur when an employee is required or coerced to forgo religious dress or grooming practices as a condition of employment; and 4) how to ensure employees who request religious accommodation are not retaliated against.

Laconic Lesson:

It’s important for employers to familiarize themselves with these guidelines as the EEOC reports that it received 3,721 charges alleging religious discrimination in 2013, more than double the 1,709 charges received in 1997.

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