In December of 2014 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that the action taken by a New Jersey school, which fired a teacher for giving a student a Bible, was a violation of one of the stipulations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically the prohibition of discriminatory acts based on religion.
If such were a fair ruling by the EEOC, then what about an unmarried woman becoming pregnant and being fired by the Catholic school where she taught, or a Christian-owned pharmacy denying employment to an applicant who expressed openness in issuing birth control prescriptions?
Believe it or not, religion is a workplace concern that both federal and local governments should look into and employers ought to start recognizing and finding solutions to. Obviously, observance of the law which prohibits any form of job discrimination, including in the hiring process, has resulted to the employment of individuals, many of who belong to different religions. Often, however, the more diverse the religious beliefs are in one firm, the greater the conflict is, but only if the employer fails to find the appropriate technique to solve this issue.
While Title VII prohibits religious discrimination in the workplace, an employer may be legally excused if accommodating a person of a certain religious belief would cause undue difficulty in the operation of his/her business. According to the website of law firm Cary Kane, LLP, undue difficulty can mean, for example, additional expenses for the company, decrease in workplace efficiency, compromise of workplace safety, or the need for other employees to render more than their share of burdensome or potentially hazardous work.
Some of the recommended solutions an employer may adopt, however, in order to render the accommodation (for an employee’s religious practices or beliefs) that is required by law, include changes in workplace practices or policies, job re-assignment, flexible scheduling, and voluntary shift substitutions. It will prove beneficial to both employer and employee or job applicant if the latter will inform his/her employer of the practices or activities his/her religion requires of him/her to perform so that proper accommodation may be given him/her.
Being discriminated against still by employers despite the mandates of federal and state laws could already be a message to the discriminated employee or applicant to raise the matter to the EEOC and then to the courts for legal remedies.