New Religious Accommodation Test

Hello and welcome to LegalEase. Today’s topic is about the US Supreme Court’s new Religious Accommodation test. Let’s talk about it.

As we know, under Title 7, an employer is required to accommodate an employee who makes a religious accommodation request if the employee has a sincerely held religious belief, unless the employer can demonstrate that making the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. Many religious accommodation lawsuits were filed during the COVID pandemic when employees claimed they could not take the COVID vaccination because of their religious beliefs.  As typical, some  employers avoided the religious accommodation requests by showing it would have been a burden or hardship to accommodate.

The US Supreme Court has made the burden tougher for employers. In a recent case involving a USPS employee who claimed he could not work on Sundays because of his religion, USPS refused to change his work  schedule. The employee eventually resigned and filed suit under Title VII. The court ruled that employers must now demonstrate a substantial increase in cost to support the hardship argument. In other words, employers can no longer get away with the minimal standard.

Another crucial point for employers to know is that this new rule is effective for all religious accommodation requests made as of today, yesterday, and all requests prospectively. This means it applies retroactively. Employers need to review their procedures and immediately train managers on how to implement the new procedures to comply with the new test.

Please call us, if you want assistance with accommodation requests. We’ll be happy to help you. Thank you for joining LegalEase.