How employers should handle religion at work

Tennessee employers are encouraged to make themselves aware of current events as they deal with religion in their workplaces. This is because public events or incidents centered on religion may influence how those of different faiths interact with each other at work. As a general rule, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee due to his or her religious beliefs or those of his or her friends or family members.

Accommodations must generally be made for anyone who sincerely holds a religious belief whether or not it is shared by others who are part of the same group. It also holds true even if a worker isn't part of a traditional religion like Christianity or Judaism. However, accommodations can be denied if it will cause an undue hardship for the employer.

If an accommodation is denied, it is important that the reason is clearly documented in case an employee decides to take legal action. Employers may also be held liable for employee harassment if they either engage in such behavior or do nothing to stop it. Therefore, it is important that action is taken to stop harassment based on religious beliefs as soon as it is reported.

Those who are victims of workplace discrimination or other hostile behavior because of their religious beliefs may wish to speak with an attorney. If a claim is successful, an employee may be entitled to compensation for back pay or reinstatement to his or her former position with full pay and benefits. A lawyer may be able to prove that the harassment occurred by talking to witnesses or producing emails from managers denying an employee's reasonable accommodation request.

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