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How to Handle an Employee's Request for Time Off for Religious Reasons

Author: William Denham, Shortt & Nguyen, PC

Federal, state and local laws prohibit discrimination based on religion and prohibit retaliation for engaging in protected activities, such as requesting religious accommodation. For instance, since 9/11 the EEOC has made a special effort to protect the religious exercises of Muslim employees. As the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, prudent employers should be sensitive to the religious practices of their employees, including employee requests for time off based on religious reasons. That sensitivity should include taking the following steps to address and accommodate an employee's desire to take time off from work for religious reasons.