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In the aftermath of September 11 2002 employers and employees have become concerned about religious discrimination The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC and state and local fair employment agencies have documented a significant increase in the number of charges alleging workplace discrimination based on religion andor national origin Many of the charges have been filed by individuals who are or are perceived to be Muslim Arab South Asian or Sikh These charges most commonly allege harassment and discharge In order for employers and employees to better understand their rights the following will address workplace discrimination ways to prevent discrimination and legal rights Wyckoff Statutes and Regulations The tragic events of September 11 should not be misdirected against innocent individuals because of their religion ethnicity or country of origin Employers and labor unions have a special role in guarding against unlawful workplace discrimination Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring firing and other terms and conditions of employment The Act also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee unless to do so would create an undue hardship upon the employer Flexible scheduling voluntary substitutions or swaps job reassignments and lateral transfers are examples of accommodating an employees religious beliefs U S EEOC Employers cannot schedule examinations or other selection activities in conflict with a current or prospective employees religious needs inquire about an applicants future availability at certain times maintain a restrictive dress code or refuse to allow observance of a Sabbath or religious holiday unless the employer can prove that not doing so would cause an undue hardship An employer can claim undue hardship when accommodating an employees religious practices if allowing such practices requires more than ordinary administrative costs Undue hardship also may be shown if changing a bona fide seniority system to accommodate one employees religious practices denies another employee the
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