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With Claims Rising EEOC Releases New Religious Discrimination Guidelines

The EEOC reports that discrimination claims, including those based on religion, are on the rise. New guidelines for religious discrimination went into effect July 22, 2008. The following information is directly from the new Section 12 of the EEOC compliance manual.

EEOC_cooltext396845518.jpgThe entire “Directives Transmittal” is available HERE. The transmittal also contains 14 examples of what constitutes discrimination and what does not. Reading through it would be a great refresher for employers and HR staff.

Directives Transmittal Dated 7/22/08

SUBJECT: EEOC COMPLIANCE MANUAL

PURPOSE: This transmittal covers the issuance of Section 12 of the new Compliance Manual on “Religious Discrimination”. The section provides guidance and instructions for investigating and analyzing charges alleging discrimination based on religion.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon receipt

DISTRIBUTION: EEOC Compliance Manual holders

OBSOLETE DATA: This Section of the Compliance Manual replaces Section 628: Religious Accommodation, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II and its Appendices: Appendix A, Policy Statement on Ansonia Board of Education v. Philbrook and Religious Accommodation; Appendix B, Policy Guidance On ‘New Age’ Training Programs Which Conflict With Employees’ Religious Beliefs; and Appendix C, Religious Objections to Unionism. It also replaces the following policy documents: Religious Organizations that Pay Women Less than Men in Accordance with Religious Beliefs; Religious Organization Exemption Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; and Policy Statement on Goldman v. Weinberger (Accommodation of the Wearing of Religious Dress).

The Commission’s Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Religion, 29 C.F.R. Part 1605, remain in effect.

This Section of the Compliance Manual is designed to be a practical resource for employers, employees, practitioners, and EEOC enforcement staff on Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination. The Section defines religious discrimination, discusses typical scenarios in which religious discrimination may arise, and provides guidance to employers on how to balance the needs of individuals in a diverse religious climate.[10] The Section is organized by legal topic, as follows:

I – Coverage issues, including the definition of “religion” and “sincerely held,” the religious organization exception, and the ministerial exception.
II – Disparate treatment analysis of employment decisions based on religion, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, discipline, and compensation, as well as differential treatment with respect to religious expression; customer preference; security requirements; and bona fide occupational qualifications.
III – Harassment analysis, including religious belief or practice as a condition of employment or advancement, hostile work environment, and employer liability issues.
IV – Reasonable accommodation analysis, including notice of the conflict between religion and work, scope of the accommodation requirement and undue hardship defense, and common methods of accommodation.
V – Related forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on national origin, race, or color, as well as retaliation.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of employment law, including any form of discrimination, contact Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500.

There is never a charge for an initial consultation.