Only one side can win

A judge before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently green lighted a trial–or as we call it in the federal sector, a hearing–denying a motion by the Agency for a decision without a hearing. The judge found there were genuine issues of material facts as to whether the Agency had failed to reasonably accommodate our client’s religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, agencies may be liable for failure to accommodate the religious practices of their employees absent proof that such accommodation could not be made without imposing an undue hardship on the employer. 42 U.S.C. 2000e(j).

Generally to win, an employee must first show (1) they had a bona fide religious belief, the practice of which conflicted with their employment, (2) they informed the agency of this belief and conflict, and (3) the agency nevertheless enforced its requirement against them. In that case, there is liability unless the agency can show it made a good faith effort to reasonably accommodate the employees religious beliefs and, if such proof fails, the agency must show that the alternative means of accommodation offered complainant cannot be granted without imposing an undue hardship on the agency’s operations.

“Associate Ianna Richardson did an excellent job in helping explain the need for a hearing to the judge, showing a great attention to detail. We are grateful for the opportunity to help advance our client’s rights, and for being able to fight to reaffirm the protections available to federal employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said managing partner Shaun Southworth.

If you are a federal employee who believes they are facing employment issues related to their religion, then please contact our federal sector attorneys today.