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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 at Work:

Two types of work religious/creed accommodations

  • An exemption from a work rule or grooming standard. These might include, for example, wearing particular head coverings, religious dress (such as a Jewish yarmulke or a Muslim headscarf),or wearing certain hairstyles or facial hair. This can also include an employee's observance of a religious prohibition against wearing certain clothing (ex. pants or mini skirts).

  • Work schedule changes to accommodate attendance at worship or services or to eliminate a safety issue this include things like a transfer to another position(swap), changing shifts, voluntary shift substitutions, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.  

  • An employer does not have to reasonably accommodate a religious belief if there is a substantial undue hardship. An undue hardship is shown when an accommodation has a safety compromise or a cost that negatively impacts other employees, or would create a violation of a collective bargaining agreement. 

How to Ask for Religious Accommodation at Work

  • In order to receive reasonable accommodation from an employer, the employee must hold a religious belief and put the employer on notice that the religious belief conflicts with a workplace rule. 

  • After the notice the employer and employee must enter into an interactive process to find a reasonable accommodation. The employer and employee could do this through verbal communication and discussions but the employee could also ask the employer formally through an accommodation letter. An accommodation letter provides a written record of the employee's request, the specific religious practice or belief that requires accommodation, and the proposed accommodations that would address the conflict between the religious practice and the job requirements or workplace policies

  • Sample letters:

- ​Sample Ramadan Accommodations Letter to Employers 2023 


Religious Accommodations at Work 

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