Updated: Jan 31, 2022
When an employee submits a request for a religious accommodation, an employer must review each request regardless of a previous denial.
Hello. My name is Joseph Radzwion IV, YOUR Trusted Attorney with Radzwion Law, PLLC. And today we are covering more things an Employer CANNOT do. This is a part 2 of Things and Employer CANNOT do. If you missed our first post, there will be a link at the bottom of this page you check out. But for today's topic we are coving a second submission.
A Second Submission for a Religious Accommodation Request is often referred to as "an appeal." The thought is the second or even a third submission from an employee to an employer is often thought of as "an appeal" of the first requested being denied. Regardless of the terminology, a second submission or an appeal, is to be treated by the employer as if the submission were being submitted for the first time. In other words, each time an employee submits a religious accommodation request, the employer is to review the request as if the employee had only submitted that one request.
We have seen many employers say that "there is no appeal process for a denied request" and that the employer is not going to "reconsider" an employee's second submission or an "appeal." This position is completely wrong and is a violation of the law.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires that an employee with a religious objection present to his or her employer a sincerely held religious belief that prevents the employee from complying with the employer's policy, The Act REQUIRES employers to accommodate an employee's sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, absent undue hardship. An employer's failure to accept a second submission or appeal and reconsider the initial denial or the request is not supported under Title VII. An employer cannot hold a position that an employee's civil rights are subject to a one-time evaluation.
Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on religious beliefs. It would be preposterous to think that just because the employer has a self serving policy that reduces the amount of effort the employer has to take in re-reviewing religious accommodation requests, they could deny any employee that has submitted more that one religious accommodation request.
In Summary, an employer cannot hold a position that an employee's civil rights are subject to a one-time evaluation. Title VII places a duty on the employer to take the time to consider each and every religious accommodation request submitted by an employee. Period.
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(REMEMBER: this post should not be taken as legal advice and you should always consult a Trusted Attorney with your legal questions.)