Religious accommodations, Title VII, undue hardship, employment


In applying Title VII, courts are often confronted with proposed religious accommodations that would negatively affect other employees and must decide whether such an accommodation amounts to an undue hardship on the employer. However, there is a conflict among circuit courts over the scope of an employer’s duty to accommodate religious employees when doing so would negatively affect coworkers’ scheduling preferences, outside the context of a collective bargaining agreement. The conflict turns on whether courts consider any negative impact on coworkers to amount to impermissible preferential treatment, or whether they require that the defendant demonstrate a more severe impact on coworkers’ rights before finding that the accommodation would present an undue hardship. This Note argues that preferential treatment of the religious employee exists only when the proposed accommodation infringes on coworkers’ contractually protected rights, creates an economic burden on the employer, or requires coworkers to take on additional, physically hazardous tasks.

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