EEOC Issues New Workplace Manual on Religion

July 23, 2008

Author: Tim Murphy

Source: Religion News Service

Citing changing demographics and a steady increase in complaints from people of faith, a federal agency on Tuesday (July 22) released an updated compliance manual on religious discrimination in the workplace.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued the guidance after consultation with religious groups, employers, and labor organizations. The number of religious-discrimination charges reported to the agency has more than doubled over the last 15 years.

"The goal here is to promote voluntary compliance, to get everyone on the same page, to let them know what the law is," said David Grinberg, a spokesman for the agency. "We want to stop discrimination before it starts."

The new manual provides safeguards for workers who request time off for religious observances, and protects workers whose faith requires they wear specific religious garments, such as a hijab, a head covering worn by some Muslim women.