Whether or not you’re a fan of Donald Trump, you certainly know his name. Perhaps you may also know a few things about him or have heard several candid statements he has made recently. You may have cringed or questioned some of his remarks, and then moved onto other things. However, if he had been your employee, he should have been fired by now. Here’s why…
There are a number of workplace “Dos” and “Don’ts” that come with being an employer, and ensuring your employees avoid any form of discrimination or harassment, whether it simply be a threat or an actual occurrence, is part of your job. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with at least 15 employees from discriminating on any of these premises: age, disability, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race/color, religion, and/or gender. Religious discrimination, by definition, is treating a person unfavorably just because of his/her religious beliefs. If a company were to close its doors to any applicant of a specific religious denomination, that company would be in jeopardy of a costly lawsuit.
Religious protections under Title VII not only prevent differential treatment, but they also include the responsibility for an employer to “reasonably accommodate” religious practices, provided they do not create an “undue hardship” to the employer. Reasonable accommodations may include a schedule change, voluntary shift swaps, a department transfer, or a flexible work schedule.
One particular religious discrimination case from 2012 included a Jewish applicant who responded to a job advertisement for Convergys. The job requirements said that applicants should be able to work a flexible schedule and overtime. During the interview, the applicant informed the recruiter that he would not be able to work on the Jewish Sabbath. The recruiter ended the interview right then, saying the applicant had to be available to work Saturdays to be considered for the position. In court, the EEOC claimed that the call center was certainly large enough (500+ employees) to give the employee an alternative work schedule, and that Convergys violated Title VII by refusing to hire the applicant without even considering any possible accommodations. The case settled with Convergys paying $15,000 and entering a 2-year consent decree to train its recruiters on religious discrimination. The company also agreed to provide notice to all future applicants that accommodations may be available for religious beliefs.
Regardless of your political affiliation, do the right thing by ensuring your management team is up to date with HR laws to avoid unnecessary lawsuits. If you are interested in having your staff trained on religious sensitivity or Title VII Dos and Don’ts, please contact our Stratus.hr team.