The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
employers from discriminating against individuals because of
their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and
conditions of employment. Title VII covers employers with
15 or more employees, including state and local governments.
It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations,
as well as to the federal government.
Under Title VII:
- Employers may not treat employees or applicants more or
less favorably because of their religious beliefs
or practices - except to the extent a religious accommodation is warranted.
For example, an employer may not refuse to hire
individuals of a certain religion, may not impose stricter
promotion requirements for persons of a certain religion, and
may not impose more or different work requirements on an employee
because of that employee's religious beliefs or practices.
- Employees cannot be forced to participate -- or not
participate -- in a religious activity as a condition of
- Employers must reasonably accommodate employees' sincerely
held religious practices unless doing so would impose an undue hardship
on the employer. A reasonable religious accommodation is any
adjustment to the work environment that will allow the
employee to practice his religion. An employer might accommodate an employee's
religious beliefs or practices by allowing: flexible scheduling,
voluntary substitutions or swaps, job reassignments and lateral
transfers, modification of grooming requirements and other workplace practices, policies and/or
- An employer is not required to accommodate an employee's
religious beliefs and practices if doing so would impose an undue
hardship on the employers' legitimate business interests. An
employer can show undue hardship if accommodating an employee's
religious practices requires more than ordinary administrative
costs, diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other
employees' job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety,
causes co-workers to carry the accommodated employee's share of
potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or if the proposed
accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation.
- Employers must permit employees to engage in religious
expression, unless the religious expression would
impose an undue hardship on the employer. Generally, an
employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression
than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect
on workplace efficiency.
- Employers must take steps to prevent religious harassment
of their employees. An employer can reduce the chance that
employees will engage unlawful religious harassment by
implementing an anti-harassment policy and having an effective
procedure for reporting, investigating and correcting harassing
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment
practices that discriminate based on religion or for filing a discrimination
charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation,
proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.
In Fiscal Year 2008, EEOC received 3,273 charges of religious
discrimination. EEOC resolved 2,727 religious discrimination charges
and recovered $7.5 million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved
individuals (not including monetary benefits obtained