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Sara Jodka comments on EEOC religious discrimination lawsuits

09/16/2014
Attorney Sara Jodka shared her insights in the article "Dunkin' Donuts, Food Lion face EEOC religious discrimination lawsuits," published Sept. 16, 2014 in Employee Benefits News. The article explored these recent high-profile cases where employers were charged by the EEOC for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they refused or eliminated employment because of a worker’s religious beliefs. In both cases, the enforcement action lists that a "reasonable accommodation," (similar to the interactive process applicable in employer claims against the Americans with Disabilities Act), should have been considered. Jodka noted that employers in all industries can handle employees’ religious needs easily and effectively. All it takes is applying similar ADA policies to religious situations. "Employers are very comfortable that they have to provide accommodation for disabilities, but they have either lost sight, or are not cognizant, that there is also a reasonable accommodation requirement under Title VII," she says. "And when someone does bring up a religious accommodation issue, they have to understand … they have the duty to engage in the same interactive dialogue that they would if this was a disability case."