Accommodating religious practices in the workplace
Moreover, employees who do not wish to participate in prayer should be given the non-derisive opportunity to be excluded from doing so, unless the employer can show that excluding them would create an undue hardship – such as having to excuse people for a 20 second prayer for everyone’s safety before going underground or starting a risky procedure.
In sum, while allowing brief prayers in the workplace is not per se discriminatory, it does require: a) a balancing of all persons’ rights to the free expression of their religion; b) the need to reasonably accommodate differing religious views; c) ensuring a workplace where there is no unlawful discriminatory action toward someone expressing a different religious view; and d) avoiding the creation of a hostile work environment.
To support a religious harassment claim, the adverse treatment must be based upon religion or the refusal to follow a religious practice.Similarly, an employer cannot discipline or discharge employees because of their religious beliefs, or otherwise discriminate on the basis of religion with regard to other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment (such as wages and benefits).An employer cannot take actions based upon the discriminatory preferences of coworkers or customers.It is also, of course, a legally protected subject.Religious belief is a protected classification under the federal Civil Rights Act and/or various state anti-discrimination laws.
The employee need not, however, use any “magic words” when making a request for religious accommodation.