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Questions about religion in the workplace have increased as religious pluralism has increased.
In a 2001 survey of human resource professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, 36% of human resource professionals who responded reported an increase in the religious diversity of their employees in the preceding five years.
Therefore, these charges should be investigated and analyzed under all four theories of liability to the extent applicable, even if the charging party only raises one claim.
in nature, as well as non-theistic “moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.” Religious beliefs can include unique views held by a few or even one individual; however, mere personal preferences are not religious beliefs.
An employee who identifies as Christian but is not affiliated with a particular sect or denomination requests accommodation of his religious belief that working on his Sabbath is prohibited.
Each of these accommodation requests relates to a “religious” belief or practice within the meaning of Title VII.
By contrast, a request for a schedule change to help set up decorations or prepare food for a church event, for instance, typically does not involve a “religious” belief or practice within the meaning of Title VII.
The same practice might be engaged in by one person for religious reasons and by another person for purely secular reasons.
The following examples illustrate these concepts: EXAMPLE 1 Employment Decisions Based on “Religion” An otherwise qualified applicant is not hired because he is a self-described evangelical Christian.
A qualified non-Jewish employee is denied promotion because the supervisor wishes to give a preference based on religion to a fellow Jewish employee.
EXAMPLE 2 Religious Practice versus Secular Practice A Seventh-day Adventist employee follows a vegetarian diet because she believes it is religiously prescribed by the scriptural passage “[b]ut flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat,” (Genesis 9:4).
Her vegetarianism is a religious practice, even though not all Seventh-day Adventists share this belief or follow this practice, and even though many individuals adhere to a vegetarian diet for purely secular reasons.