A previous post on this blog talked about how the Department of Justice recently reached a settlement with a nursing home facility that forced a woman either to submit to a flu vaccine or face termination. While the ostensible purpose for the nursing home's rule was to ensure patient safety, the government asserted it was in fact religious discrimination given the woman's sincerely held views about vaccines.
This story makes it an appropriate time to review the rights of employees of faith who are in the workforce. California employers do not have to offer compromises or exceptions to workplace rules to everyone who happens to have a religious practice that might run up against those rules. While an employee may never be singled out or harassed because of his or her religion per se, they do have the right to maintain reasonable workplace rules and regulations necessary to conduct their business, comply with law and ensure everyone's safety and health.
Federal law is a helpful guide as in to when an employer is or is not required to accommodate an employee's religious practices. Generally, employers should offer exceptions to its dress code policies, attendance and other policies, if the changes do not create an "undue hardship" on the employer. In other words, if an exception can be made with relative ease, an employer should do so.
A Los Angeles resident who feels he or she has been discriminated against unfairly because of his or her religion, or has not been allowed to observe his or her faith while at work, may have legal options. They should consider speaking with an employment law attorney about a possible employment discrimination claim.