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Accommodating respectful religious expression in the workplace

Although Title VII seems to require a broad reading of accommodation, courts have been reluctant to read it broadly.

“We live in an era of uncertainty and anxiety about jobs.

Workers who require religious accommodations are particularly vulnerable in this environment.

Despite the imposition of the cooperation requirement, employees do not need to compromise their religion as part of an accommodation.

A majority of courts have held that the employee’s duty to compromise is not synonymous with a duty to compromise his/her religion.

With the abundance of people eager for employment, workers needing an accommodation face a perilous choice: ask for an accommodation that might precipitate loss of the position or compromise their religious belief in order to keep employment.“The following series of articles, taken from a study I wrote for the analyzes religious accommodations in the workplace and the uncertainty facing employees that need these accommodations.

It proposes that the Americans with Disabilities model for dealing with workplace accommodations be a model for workplace religious accommodations.

In a Massachusetts case, an employee filed a complaint against her employer after she was fired for wearing facial piercings at work.

The First Circuit, quoting from the district court opinion, stated, “[The] search for a reasonable accommodation goes both ways.

The cooperation requirement actually places the employee on equal footing with the employer.

It offers the employee respect in that it makes him/her an equal partner in the effort to solve the problem.

Again, cooperation need not mean that the employee’s preferred method of accommodation will always be chosen.