Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers must reasonably accommodate the religious observances of its employees unless doing so would cause an undue hardship. But what does it mean to "reasonably accommodate" an employee? For that matter, what exactly is an "undue hardship?"
In one instance, a union agreement only allowed a teacher to take three paid absences per year for religious observances. However, the teacher’s religion required him to use approximately six per year, and he was forbidden from using personal days for additional religious observances. His employer then allowed him to take unpaid days off to fulfill his religious obligations. Do you think the Supreme Court found this to be a reasonable accommodation? The answer lies on page 23 of the Indiana Chamber’s Religion in the Workplace, which was written by a team of attorneys from the Indiana-based law firm Ogletree Deakins.