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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is an activist U.S agent created with the sole aim of fighting against discrimination on the basis of gender, race, sex, creed or nationality in the employment industry. It was created in 1964 and among its other duties, is the promotion of programs to ensure equal employment opportunities a reality in the U.S. Since its inception, the EEOC has become the leader in ensuring that the monster of discrimination is no longer an issue in the U.S. Primarily, the commission is charged with the duty of suing individuals or companies charged with discrimination of any kind. In the event that one is found guilty, there will be efforts by the commission to reconcile the parties involved but if conciliation is not secured, it will go ahead to sue the guilty party in the Federal Court. This commission handles approximately 75,000 to 80,000 charges annually.


Legislation against Discrimination on basis of religion

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Religious entities have been given the mandate to come up with their preferences in terms of the basic requirements that an individual should meet before he or she is employed in such an organization. Section 12113 states that a religious organization may, for instance, require that all applicants, as well as employees, may be required to conform to the religious pillars of such an organization. As such, therefore, it is expressly implied that anyone who does not satisfy such requirements will and shall not be considered for employment in such an organization and cannot sue for discrimination in any court of law or tribunal. It should be noted that according to Fiester & Lau, herein interpreted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers have the right to protect its employees against discrimination on the basis of religion. It is imperative to note that it is a vital necessity that employers should provide reasonable accommodations for its employees as dictated by the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the EEOC.

Reasonable Accommodations

The first major expectation that an employer should give its employees has everything to do with the functional limitations occasioned by a physical or psychiatric disability. As a matter of fact, an employer should provide the best working conditions for such employees. The second accommodation expectation is concerned with the religious beliefs of an employee. It is important to note that everyone belongs to a certain religious group or creed. It is therefore up to the employers to foster these accommodation expectations as the protector of its employees. According to the Center for Psychiatric Development, there is need to change the criteria for meeting entry requirements or employment standards instead of changing the laws or lowering the standards of performance so as to suit the disabled or rather those that the initial standards “discriminate” against.

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Work Place Examples

More often than not, employers are required to come up with ways of accommodating such issues in their workplaces. For instance, instead of reducing the productivity of a company due to an employee’s disability, it is much easier if the employer identified some of the necessary changes that will help a person with a disability perform better. This may include raising the height of a desk in the event of an employee who uses a wheelchair, getting an office with a romp instead of stairs, using large prints for visually impaired employees inter alia.

Under Title VII of the Act, employees should be treated in a manner that is in accordance with the law. According to this Act, an employer is not supposed to refuse to hire individuals on who belong to a different religion from his; an employer is further prohibited from imposing stricter requirements for something like promotions or impose different work requirements for employees from a different religion. This, in essence, implies that every employee is entitled to his religious beliefs as long as it is not in contravention of the company policies and practices.

It should also be noted that an employer has been given the right to lay off an employer if in the practice of his religion; there is undue influence of the company’s business and consequent profits. According to ADA Amendments Act (2010), undue hardship will arise if accommodating the employee will have administrative costs implications as well as diminishing efficacy in other jobs, an infringement on the rights of other employers or if the said accommodation is in contrast with other legislations. In so doing, an employee will have acted in accordance with the statutory requirements regarding employer protection as stated in the EEOC.

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In summary, the employers should be keen on taking the first step towards the protection of the religious rights of its employees. They should be protected from religious harassment through coming up with an anti-harassment policy as well as coining an effective reporting, investigating and correcting procedure for harassment. Over the years, there has been a very tough criticism against ADA with religious groups such as Association of Christian Schools International opposing the Act in its original form. Their argument was that in labeling religious institutions as “public accommodations” meant that the churches had to make structural changes to ensure that it was open to all. This eventually prevailed as the churches remained inaccessible for “strangers”.

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