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Religious Accommodation in Schools

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What is a Religion or creed?

  • Religion or creed is defined broadly and includes observance, practice, and belief. A creed or religious belief includes those sincere and meaningful beliefs that occupy in the life of that individual a place parallel to that of God in traditional religion. Discrimination in employment on the basis of Creed or Religion is a violation of RCW 49.60 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is also a violation of the law for an employer to fail to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious belief of an employee.

What Are Religious Accommodations?

  • US Department of Labor Definition:
    “A religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow an employee or applicant to practice his or her religion. The need for religious accommodation may arise where an individual's religious beliefs, observances or practices conflict with a specific task or requirement of the position or an application process.”

  • Areas religious accommodation cover; religious attire, holidays, prayer/worship, expression, dietary restrictions, curriculum, and education.

Religious Accommodations in Higher Education:

  • A postsecondary educational institution is required to provide notice to students of its religious accommodation policy by publishing the policy on the institution's website and including either the policy or a link to the policy in course or program syllabi. The notice to students must also include notification of the institution's grievance procedure.

  • Any student seeking reasonable accommodations in a postsecondary educational institution must provide written notice to the faculty, within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course, of the specific dates the student requests accommodations regarding examinations or other activities.

  • Sample University Eid and Ramadan Accommodations

How to Ask for Religious Accommodation in Higher Education

  • Accommodations
    Higher education institutions must develop policies to accommodate student absences to allow students to take holidays for reasons of religion, so that students' grades are not adversely impacted by the absences.
    Requires faculty to coordinate with the student on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for completion of the program.
    Includes rescheduling examinations or activities or offering different times for examinations or activities
    A postsecondary educational institution may not require a student to pay any fees for seeking reasonable accommodations.


  • If you believe you are being discriminated against, visit the Washington State Human Rights Commission to file a complaint - 

  • The Human Rights Commission can also be reached via phone:

  • (360)-753- 6770 or 1-800-233-3247

  • Washington Field Offices online system for scheduling appointments in regards to employment discrimination -

  • For individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, you can reach EEOC by videophone at 1-844-234-5122

  • Resources for Educational Accommodation

  • Seattle Public School Title IX Coordinator: (206) 252-0367

  • U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights: (206) 607-1600

  • WA OSPI Equity Civil Rights Office: (360) 725-6162

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