| Read Time: 3 minutes | Reasonable Accommodation
religious accommodation examples

Religious accommodation in the workplace is a constitutional right for those federal employees who have strong ethical or religious beliefs.

This right was recently strengthened by the Supreme Court in the case of Groff v. U.S. Postal Service. In that case, the court reiterated that employers need to meet a relatively difficult standard in order to deny an employee’s requested religious accommodation. 

However, what does religious accommodation look like in the workplace? We’ll cover several religious accommodation examples in this article. If you’ve been curious about what kinds of religious accommodation you might be able to receive, then you’ll want to read on. 

And if you’d like to learn more about a specific example of religious accommodation, contact our outstanding team of federal employee accommodations lawyers. We’re happy to discuss your religious accommodation legal rights and answer any questions you may have.

Call us at (800) 801-0598 or send an online message today to get started.

Three Examples of Religious Accommodations for Work

Without further ado, let’s dive into specific examples of religious accommodation.

Example #1: The USPS Driver’s Sabbath

John is a devout Seventh-day Adventist who works as a postal carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Springfield, Illinois. His religious beliefs strictly prohibit him from working from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday because that is the sabbath for Seventh-day Adventists.

Recently, the U.S. Postal Service implemented a new scheduling system that required John to work on Saturdays. He informed his supervisors of his religious commitments and requested accommodation to have Saturdays off. Alternatively, he asked that his employer allow him to swap shifts with a colleague. After some consideration, his supervisors granted his request. 

Example #2: The Contractor’s Hijab

Amina is a practicing Muslim woman who works as a public liaison at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. At the time of Amina’s hiring, the DOJ had a formal dress code for public-facing roles that did not accommodate head scarves or any head coverings.

Amina wears a hijab as part of her religious practice, so she approached her department head to request an exception. Her department head initially told her that the dress code was standard across all federal departments and that no waivers or exemptions were possible.

Feeling that her religious rights were not being acknowledged, Amina filed a complaint. After reviewing the case, DOJ’s upper management recognized the importance of religious accommodation and adjusted its dress code guidelines. Now, Amina and others can wear religious garments that align with a professional appearance.

Example #3: The Researcher’s Daily Prayer

Sikha is a devout Hindu who works as a researcher for the Centers for Disease Control in Georgia. Her religious beliefs require her to observe a short, 10-minute prayer ritual at noon each day.

Originally, the lab had strict schedules for experiments and breaks that allowed Sikha to conduct her prayer ritual. However, the CDC lab introduced new timings last year.

When that happened, Sikha found that her noon prayers conflicted with an essential task. She brought this to the attention of her supervisor and explained the significance of her religious observance. Her supervisor was initially hesitant to make any changes because of the potential disruptions.

However, Sikha suggested adjusting her start and end times to ensure she finished her tasks without affecting the lab’s operations. After learning about the applicable laws from an HR representative, Sikha’s supervisor recognized the legal importance of religious accommodation and granted Sikha’s request.

Our Federal Employment Attorneys Can Help You Secure The Workplace Religious Accommodations You Need

Hopefully, these inspiring examples illustrate the vast range of possibilities for religious accommodations you can obtain. Yet maneuvering through the numerous twists and turns of federal employment law can be daunting.

At Pines Federal, our primary mission is to advocate for federal employees embroiled in all kinds of workplace challenges, including religious accommodation issues.

Drawing inspiration from cases like Amina’s hijab request, John’s Sabbath observance, and Sikha’s noon prayer considerations, our legal experts excel in navigating the complex terrain of religious accommodation in federal employment. Trust in our firm to harness all of our resources to ensure your religious rights are respected and protected in your workplace.

If you’re ready to protect your rights, our team at Pines Federal is ready to stand as your workplace champions. Contact us online or call (800) 801-0598 today to schedule a consultation.

Author Photo

Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative.

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