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Sometimes, an employee’s religious beliefs or practices can be in conflict with job requirements.
Under federal and most states’ laws, employers cannot ignore the religious needs of employees but must work with employees to try to accommodate them.
For example, suppose an employee’s religion requires that he or she wear particular clothes that are considered hazardous if worn near moving equipment or machinery.
Unless there is another type of clothing that would meet the employee’s religious needs, permitting the employee to work in those clothes may be an undue hardship because of legitimate safety rules or regulations.
This article is provided only as general information, which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments or be complete.
Other times, the religious belief or practice may require an exception to a work rule or policy.
For example, an employer may have a dress code policy that prohibits visible tattoos at work.
If an employee has a visible tattoo that appears to be a religious insignia, it would be appropriate to ask the employee whether he or she is permitted to cover the tattoo at work. But if the religious belief or practices prohibits covering the tattoo, the employer may need to allow an exception to the policy.
If an exception is permitted, it does not need to be applied to other employees who have nonreligious tattoos and demand the policy exception for themselves. If an employee’s religious practice requires time for prayer during the workday, employers should try to find an appropriate place to allow for prayers.
That could be an office or conference room, or an otherwise separate area where the employees can pray in private.