A framework for accommodating religion and spirituality in the workplace
The company and the union representing the workers had a collective bargaining agreement that, among other things, provided that all bargaining unit employees, “shall be obligated to perform all straight time and overtime work required of them by the company except when an employee has a substantial and justifiable reason for not working.” Approximately ten months after Dewey’s termination, the EEOC issued regulations that, for the first time, stated that Title VII’s religious discrimination prohibition included the failure of an employer to reasonably accommodate the religious needs of employees where accommodations can be made without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business. Congress included the following definition of religion in its 1972 amendments to Title VII: The term ‘religion’ includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business., after a detailed review of the legislative history of the 1972 amendment, the Court determined that the intent and effect of the amendment was to make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer not to make reasonable accommodations, short of undue hardship, for the religious practices of employees and prospective employees.The Court noted that the text of the 1972 amendment did not provide guidance in making a determination as to what constituted a reasonable accommodation; thus it was left to the Court to fashion a definition of what constitutes reasonable accommodation efforts.The Court instructed the district court on remand to make the necessary findings as to past and existing practice in the administration of the collective bargaining agreement. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Heartland, finding the two written leave requests did not present evidence sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that Adeyeye had provided Heartland with notice of the religious character of his request for unpaid leave.that an employer satisfies its obligations under Title VII when it demonstrates that it has offered a reasonable accommodation to the employee in an attempt to resolve a religious conflict with workplace needs. The case was then appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.The court of appeals further stated that even if attendance at the event was not a religious tenet, but a mere request of the pastor, these arguments address an issue that is not for the federal courts, powerless as they are to evaluate the logic or validity of beliefs found religious and sincerely held., the U. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that the district court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the employer was inappropriate, since there existed a dispute of fact as to whether the offered accommodation related to a work schedule conflict was reasonable and whether the University was able to accommodate the plaintiff without undue hardship.Crider’s job responsibilities included attending conferences on behalf of her department, traveling internationally on “site visits,” and monitoring an emergency cell phone on a rotating basis, including weekends.The Court found that collective bargaining aimed at effecting workable and enforceable agreements between management and labor lies at the core of our national labor policy, and seniority provisions are universally included in these contracts.
TWA rejected a proposal to allow Hardison to work four days per week, since his position was essential and he was the only available person on his shift to perform the job on weekends, thus leaving the position empty would impair the supply shop functions.
The Sixth Circuit returned the case to the district court to explore whether the accommodation would create an undue hardship for UTK. The plaintiff, Latice Porter, was a practicing Christian who sought religious accommodation to attend church services on Sunday morning.