Copyright © 2017 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Can an employee pray at work? What about getting every Sunday off for the Sabbath? U.S. companies are wrestling with questions like these regarding the extent to which employees can practice religion on the job as more U.S. workers file religious discrimination complaints than ever before.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed nearly 4,000 religious discrimination charges in 2012, almost double what they filed in 2000, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tens of thousands of gender-based complaints the EEOC sees each year suggests that religious discrimination is still relatively underreported, according to Joyce Dubensky, chief executive of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, who spoke to the Journal.
But as the U.S. workforce becomes more diverse, employees are more confident about expressing their beliefs on the job—which leads to more complaints. Fortunately for companies, charges are less likely to evolve into lawsuits now—the Journal reports the EEOC is getting better at resolving complaints early and educating employers.
Despite making progress at the EEOC, companies should deal with these religious discrimination claims proactively. Michale Petkovich and Amanda Vaccaro, two attorneys at employment law firm Jackson Lewis, recently shared with Bloomberg some best practices to adopt when dealing with an EEOC charge.