Accommodating employees religious beliefs


To prove undue hardship, CBP will need to demonstrate how much cost or disruption a proposed accommodation would involve.The agency cannot rely on potential or hypothetical hardship when faced with a religious obligation that conflicts with scheduled work, but rather should rely on objective information.



Religious observances or practices include, for example, attending worship services, praying, wearing religious garb or symbols, displaying religious objects, adhering to certain dietary rules, proselytizing or other forms of religious expression, or refraining from certain activities.For example, if an employee has requested a schedule change to accommodate daily prayers, CBP may need to ask for information about the religious observance, such as time and duration of the daily prayers, in order to determine whether accommodation can be granted without posing an undue hardship on the operation of CBP.Moreover, even if the employer does not grant the employee’s preferred accommodation, but instead provides an alternative accommodation, the employee must cooperate by attempting to meet his or her religious needs through the proposed accommodation. Title VII requires the agency to accommodate only those religious beliefs that are religious and “sincerely held,” and that can be accommodated without an undue hardship.Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief and defines religion very broadly for purposes of determining what the law covers.

For purposes of Title VII, religion includes not only traditional, organized religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others.

The agency also should not assume that an employee is insincere simply because some of his or her practices deviate from the commonly followed tenets of his or her religion.