Religion and the Workplace: Harmonizing Work and Worship

The Yale Club of New York50 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 716-8100

A renewed spiritual awakening and the proliferation of religion in the workplace appear to have created a more religiously diverse and devoted workforce. This creates new challenges for employers who are increasingly faced with requests for religious accommodation.

Statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), the federal agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws, demonstrate that the number of requests for religious accommodations and complaints of religious discrimination have risen sharply, resulting in the growing pressure on employers to accommodate their employees' diverse religious views and practices with the demands of the workplace. In fact, in Fiscal Year 2008, the EEOC received 3,723 charges of religious discrimination, an increase of almost 15% from the previous year. The EEOC resolved 2,727 of these charges and recovered $7.5 million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals, not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation.

With increasing frequency, employers are reaching out for advice on whether an employee can be reasonably accommodated in connection with his or her religious practices in the workplace, ranging from the frequent requests for Sabbath or holiday observances, to employee e-mail signoffs quoting scripture, to open proselytizing.

We hope you can join us on October 7, 2009 for our next "First Wednesday Presentation." EBG attorneys Dean L. Silverberg and Michael A. Kalish will be joined by two executives of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding (Georgette F. Bennett, Ph.D. President and Founder and Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq., Executive Vice President and CEO) for this executive briefing breakfast to explore "Religion and The Workplace: Harmonizing Work and Worship."

Some of the topics to be covered include:

  • Why Religion Can't be Ignored at Work - Trends and Emerging Issues
  • Statutory Sources Prohibiting Employment Discrimination Based on Religion
  • The Parameters of the Protection
  • What "Religious Beliefs" Are Protected?
  • What "Religious Practices" Are Protected?
  • Challenging the Sincerity of the Belief or Practice
  • What Is a "Reasonable Accommodation" and When Does it Become an "Undue Hardship"?
  • Triggers for Religious Bias
  • Proactive Employer Programs: What Are Better and Best Practices?

The registration fee is $40. To register for this briefing, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Christine Eschenauer at (212) 351-4668 or [email protected].