Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018!
SHRM board member David Windley discusses how unconscious bias can derail workplace diversity efforts.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
A sharp rise in the number of charges of religious discrimination, an upswing in religious diversity in the United States and requests for guidance from stakeholders prompted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to issue a new Compliance Manual Section under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC announced the updated guidance during its July 22, 2008, meeting in Washington, D.C., noting that the section addresses a wide range of complex workplace issues.
It’s intended, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earpsaid in a statement, as an updated resource “for employers, employees, practitioners and EEOC staff seeking information on Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination.”
It addresses such issues as what constitutes religion under Title VII; disparate treatment based on religion; the requirement to reasonably accommodate religious beliefs and practices; and religion-based harassment and retaliation. It also provides guidance on balancing employee rights regarding religious expression with employers’ need to maintain efficient, productive workplaces.
The number of filings by workers in the private sector charging religious discrimination has more than doubled in the past 15 years, from 1,388 in fiscal 1992 to 2,880 in fiscal 2007, according to the EEOC.
The agency doesn’t know for sure the reason for the increase, EEOC spokesman Christine Nazer said.
“We can only guess. Some of the reasons we think this may be happening may be due to a more diverse workforce throughout the country. Diversity is not just race and gender, and that may be contributing to the [filings] increase,” she told SHRM Online.
In fact, the new section contains an overview quoting findings from a 2001 Religion in the Workplace Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management/Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding that point to an increase in religious diversity in the workforce.
Among 552 HR professionals surveyed, 36 percent reported an increase in religious diversity of their employees in the preceding five years.
Nazer also pointed to a recent Gallup Poll that indicated Americans are increasingly open in the workplace about their religious views.
“That more open atmosphere may be contributing to the increase [in filings],” she theorized. In addition, “people may be more familiar with the federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination” and thus more quick to respond by filing charges.
Whatever the reason, Nazer said, “there’s just been a lot of buzz” about religious discrimination” and the Compliance Manual Section is the result.
In conjunction with the new section, the EEOC issued a question-and-answer sheet and a booklet on best practices, including a section on employee best practices.
Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Join SHRM's exclusive peer-to-peer social network
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies