Title VII, The Civil Rights Act of 1964
Under federal law, an employer usually cannot make work-related decisions based upon an employee's religion. This means, that generally an employer has to give their workers time off from work to practice their faith and celebrate religious holidays. Employers may face legal issues and be fined if they refuse time off without a good reason. Time off cannot be denied just because the employer doesn't believe in the holiday or religion but needs a legitimate business reason in the eyes of the law. With respect to our dilemma, our employee John’s refusal to carry out his assigned job because of a new religious belief is a very interesting situation. Since it is possible for an employer to limit the time off even in these types of situations. This is defined as a “reasonable religious accommodation.” (EEOC, 2012, landing page). A religious accommodation is any work-related adjustment that will allow an employee time off to practice religion. (EEOC, 2012, landing page). There are several options for employers to work with an employee requesting time off for religious beliefs and traditions, this includes providing flex time work schedules, allowing workers to switch vacation days, unpaid leave, and working with the employees work schedules to allow off on those specific days. An option to the employer to reduce or prevent an employee from taking off for religious practices are an employer can also claim an undue hardship rule. (EEOC, 2012, landing page). This is defined as an “employer can disallow time off to an employee for religious reason if it may be anything that has a negative impact on the business.” (Anti- Defamation League, 2012, landing page). For our example, giving John the religious accommodation to not deliver to our east side customers on the days of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would cause our customers harm to their business as they depend on these deliveries would result in undue hardship for me, John’s employer. Letting John time off could lower efficiency and productivity, possibly even make the workplace unsafe, and cost the business more than just administrative costs. Thus, by refusing John time off or actually firing him because of his religion he may be able to get his job back and get paid for the time he was out of work under Title VII. Additionally, most states have laws very similar to Title VII, which could lead to even more fines. Our example about John, is a tricky situation, because John had an employment contract with my business to make deliveries on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to the east side before he became devoutly religious and joined this highly respected religious group. He now claims that it is against the religious freedom to maintain this delivery schedule under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and will not deliver to the east side on those days. (EEOC, 2012, landing page). The major dilemma for me as his employer is that this may cause undue hardship for my business because the deliveries are to customers on the east side whom depend on it and it would result in loss of business and maybe even loss of customer base. The trickle down of this could lead to a word of mouth spreading that could lead to a disaster for my business. As an employer it is important to be very careful as to not violate John’s freedom of religion rights under the Title VII and still makes sure the packages are delivered as scheduled to the customers.
The U.S. Congress enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. (Miller & Jentz, 2010, p. 481). The law generally forbids...
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