An employee has requested a religious accommodation – do you need to grant it?  Federal and state anti-discrimination laws require employers to provide reasonable accommodation for the religious practices and beliefs of employees, but relieves companies of the obligation if doing so will cause an undue hardship on the business.

Accommodations might include modified schedules, such as exempting employees from work on their Sabbath, waiver of dress and appearance standards (such as to permit an observant Jewish employee to wear a yarmulke), or relieving an employee of objectionable duties (e.g., excusing a waitress who is Jehovah Witness from singing “happy birthday” to a patron with other servers because it is against her religion).  An accommodation that would unduly burden others (such as requiring others to work every Saturday) or require the employer to bear extra expense (such as paying overtime to a replacement), need not be provided.  Before denying an accommodation, however, legal counsel should be sought.