FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS WELCOMES EEOC PUBLICATION OF NEW GUIDANCE ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM & DISCRIMINATION ISSUES IN THE WORKPLACE
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the “Orthodox Union”), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, commended the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) for its publication yesterday of a new, consolidated and updated set of guidelines for investigating and analyzing issues of religious freedom and discrimination in American workplaces.
An EEOC spokesman stated that the new publication was developed and issued as the EEOC saw claims of employment discrimination on the basis of religion double since 1992. The Orthodox Union was pleased to participate in several consultation meetings with EEOC officials as the guidance document was prepared.
The publication (accessible here) offers employers and employees direction not only with regard to ensuring that American workplaces do not exclude people of a particular faith, but also – importantly – how employers ought to accommodate employees’ religious needs in the workplace. The publication discusses accommodating employees’ needs for religious accommodation in cases such as:
>an employee’s need for a schedule change to observe a holy day;
>an employee’s need for a uniform code in order to wear a religious headcovering;
>an employee’s need to be excused for performing a particular task that conflicts with her conscientious beliefs.
Nathan J. Diament, director of public policy for the Orthodox Union issued the following statement reacting to the EEOC’s publication:
The Orthodox Jewish community applauds the EEOC for issuing its updated guidance on the issue of religious freedom in the workplace. Religious Americans can spend a majority of their day in their workplaces, and the need to accommodate their religious needs is essential to each person’s freedom. While we believe such needs will only be fully protected with passage of new legislation – in particular the Workplace Religious Freedom Act – the EEOC’s action is important, will benefit millions of American workers and is thus most welcome.