Employees who have their religious accommodation requests denied are told by the employer that their is "no appeal process" and that "the decision to deny the request is final." These statements are both lies and we are going to explain why.
Hello everyone, my name is Joseph Radzwion IV, your trusted attorney with Radzwion Law, PLLC, and this post we are answering whether employers can have policy that says "no appeal our decision is final." In a previous post we covered how employers tell their employees "it's my way or the highway" and that in order to submit a religious accommodation request the employee MUST use the employers forms, online portals, or un-monitored email address. This is also a lie and a link to that post is below.
Lie #2: No "Appeals"
We hear time and time again that an employer has made a "final decision" and there is no "appeal process." This is another lie employer's tell to their employees.
A Second Submission for a Religious Accommodation Request is often referred to as "an appeal." The thought is the employee sends a "reconsideration letter" to an employer which 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.
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 employers 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. If an employer does hold the "no appeals" position, it is completely wrong and is a violation of the law.
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 will lie to their employees and tell them, there is no appeal process. Such policies are unlawful because an employee's civil rights are NOT 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.)
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