Friday, March 07, 2014

EEOC Releases Guidance On Religious Garb and Grooming Accommodation

The EEOC announced yesterday the release of two related technical assistance publications on the law regarding religious dress and grooming in the workplace. A Question and Answer document titled Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities is a guide (including examples) to when and how employers must accommodate employees' religiously-based requests on clothing, religious dress, head coverings, hair style and beards. The related Fact Sheet summarizes the basic requirements of Title VII.

The new guidance comes as the Department of Justice announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against the Philadelphia (PA) school district charging it with discrimination against a Muslim school police officer who was reprimanded for wearing a beard in violation of an October 2010 policy change that prevents school police and security officers from wearing beards longer than one-quarter inch. The employee, Siddiq Abu-Bakr, has worn a longer beard for the 27 years he has worked for the school district.