Deciding whether to accommodate religious dress, grooming, and scheduling requests is something that virtually every employer in California will encounter. And it's not an issue employers should take lightly.
The California Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 (WRFA), which took effect January 1, 2013, amended the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to bar discrimination on the basis of religion or religious creed. In addition to stating that a religious belief or observance includes religious grooming practices and dress, under this law, segregating an employee from customers or the public does not constitute an acceptable accommodation for religious practices.
The compliance challenge employers face can be great because religious creeds are broadly construed and can easily ignite costly legal battles if not handled correctly. For example, in September 2013, the EEOC announced a $158,000 settlement in a case involving a Sacramento car dealership. The employer allegedly failed to accommodate a Seventh-day Adventist's request to have from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday off because his religion required him to refrain from secular work during that period of time.
These cases show why it's crucial to be aware of the legal and practical challenges that arise when it comes to religion in the workplace. Participate in this interactive webinar and learn how to avoid discrimination claims and accommodate your employees, all while meeting organizational needs.
- The key ways the WRFA has amended FEHA
- What constitutes a "sincerely held religious belief" under Title VII and the WRFA/FEHA, and when your duty to assess whether a request for religious accommodation will be granted is triggered in California
- What your policy about religious accommodations should state
- The analysis to apply when deciding whether the requested accommodation, such as a request for certain days off, will result in an "undue hardship" on your organization
- The difference between speculative reasons for denying a religious accommodation and concrete, legally defensible evidence that will support your position that granting the accommodation would result in an undue hardship
- How to properly deny a request for accommodation - the type of documentation to draft and communicate to the employee requesting the religious accommodation
- How to enforce your dress code and grooming policies without violating Title VII with respect to one's religion, which may require certain dress, facial hair, and more
- Practical pointers on how to make sure supervisors and line managers don't misstep when a request for a religious accommodation has been made
- Key takeaways from recent EEOC enforcement actions, lawsuits, and settlements related to requests for religious accommodation so you don't make the same mistakes those employers made
In just 90 minutes, you'll learn obligations under Title VII and the WRFA/FEHA to provide accommodations to employees with sincerely held religious beliefs.
About Your Presenters:
Attorney Gregory C. Cheng, a shareholder in the San Francisco office of Ogletree Deakins, has exclusively practiced management-side labor and employment law in California for his entire career. He has handled hundreds of matters for employers in state and federal courts, arbitration, and before administrative agencies. Mr. Cheng regularly provides advice and counsel to employers on day-to-day California employment issues.
His central focus is to place an employer in the best position possible to deter costly and unnecessary litigation, and he approaches each issue pragmatically and customizes his advice to fit the unique legal and business challenges facing each employer. He is firmly aware of the need to approach day-to-day employment issues in proportion with its impact on business operations and other economic/non-economic factors.
Mr. Cheng has substantial experience advising employers in the areas of interactive process, reasonable accommodation issues, wage and hour compliance, employee discipline, terminations, employee handbooks, reductions in force, plant closings, drug testing, non-compete agreements, severance negotiations, internal investigations, and workplace violence.
Attorney Mary Wright, a shareholder in the San Francisco office of Ogletree Deakins, advises employers from start-ups to global corporations on all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including workplace investigations, competition and confidentiality, employee classification issues, and employee terminations, including reductions in force.
Ms. Wright served as Chair of her former firm's Personnel Committee for seven years, during which time she learned to see employment issues as an employer and developed a very practical approach to advice and counsel. She specializes in working with employers to identify compliance issues early on and reach workable business solutions to complex human resource problems.
Ms. Wright represents corporations before federal and state agencies, and defends employers in all types of employment litigation matters before state and federal courts involving discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge and other employment-related claims. She has extensive experience defending employers against claims of disability, sex, race, national origin and age discrimination, and against claims of violation of federal and state medical and disability leave of absence laws.
She served as both a Judge in Small Claims Court and Mediator for employment cases in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Ms. Wright is also Editor in Chief of HR Gazette, a daily on-line newspaper for HR Professionals and Employment Lawyers.
Cannot Attend The Live Presentation?
This presentation is also available in a recorded format, in CD version, as shown in the pricing options below.
|About Webcasts / Audio Conferences / Podcasts:|
Webcasts, audio conferences, and podcasts are presentations that you
attend via the Internet, phone, or mobile device at a specified date and time for "live" versions, or at your convenience for "recorded" and "On-Demand" versions.
versions are interactive, meaning that participants can ask questions in real time, plus are a very cost-effective form of training because 1) you receive fast, convenient learning without
any out-of-office time; 2) you can invite as many colleagues as you'd like to listen in on a single phone line; 3) you incur no travel expenses; and 4) you and your colleagues are back
at work immediately after the session ends!
And though with recorded versions you do lose the ability to ask questions, you gain the ability to hear the presentation numerous
times and to share it with others in your office.
Handout materials and the phone number for live presentations are made available to you prior to the event via email from the
presenter and from the "MyAccount" link on the menu bar. Copies of the presentations are included with recorded versions.