Federal Manager's Daily Report

The EEOC has published for comment revisions to its guidance on religious discrimination in the workplace under the Civil Rights Act, which applies to the federal workplace as well as many private sector employers.

“Many employers seek legal guidance in managing equal employment opportunity issues that arise from religious diversity as well as the demands of the modern American workplace,” it says.

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“The revisions to the guidance include important updates to the discussion of protections for employees from religious discrimination in the context of reasonable accommodations and harassment,” it said. While the guidance does not have the force of law, it “is intended to provide clarity to the public on existing requirements under the law and how the Commission will analyze these matters in performing its duties.”

The agency said that its prior compliance manual, dating to 2008, is out of date due to court rulings and other developments since then.

Topics covered include definitions of what qualifies as a religion, what meets the test that beliefs be sincerely held; what constitutes discrimination in recruitment, hiring and other personnel actions; differential treatment with respect to religious expression; bona fide occupational requirements; harassment; reasonable accommodation in working arrangements; and retaliation.