How to handle religious accommodation requests
Enforcing uniform company policies through consistent and proper documentation not only holds all employees to the same standard, it can also help prevent and solve discrimination or harassment claims. This is no different when it comes to requests for religious accommodations.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, these are few items that should be included in your religious accommodation request form for employees as well as managers:
- Date of request and length of time to be accommodated.
- Reason for request, such as, job change, flexible work schedule, dress/appearance code, other.
- Employees’ suggestion for religious accommodation.
They also suggest inserting a clause that states the request may not be granted. Here is an example they provide:
“I have read and understand the company’s policy on religious accommodation. My religious beliefs and practices, which result in this request for a religious accommodation, are sincerely held. I understand that the accommodation requested above may not be granted but that the company will attempt to provide a reasonable religious accommodation that does not create an undue hardship on the employer’s business.”
For the employer, they should decide to either accept or decline the suggested accommodation, and if it creates any impact. If the employer decides to decline the employee’s suggested accommodation they should:
- Recommend alternative accommodations.
- Discuss alternative accommodations with employee.
- Mutually agree upon an alternative accommodation.
If the employer and employee are unable to agree upon an alternative suggestion, be sure to thoroughly explain the reasoning to the employee why you are unable to accommodate and how the requested accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the company’s operations.