Religious Discrimination in the Workplace: Avoiding and Defending Claims

Effective Policies and Practices to Comply With Title VII and Withstand Court Scrutiny

EEOC Issues New Guidance After Religious Discrimination Claims Reach Record High

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Course Materials


Employee claims of religious discrimination have more than doubled in the past 15 years. In response to the dramatic increase, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance in July to help employers comply with Title VII’s provisions prohibiting religious discrimination.

The EEOC guidance addresses what constitutes religion under Title VII and how employers can accommodate employees’ religious rights while efficiently running a business. Familiarity with the EEOC’s guidelines is essential for counsel advising employers on how to avoid costly mistakes and litigation.

Listen as our panel of employment law attorneys — including an EEOC attorney — reviews current litigation trends and the key provisions of the new EEOC guidance and offers best practices for employers to avoid and defend against religious discrimination claims.



  1. Current litigation trends
    1. Employee refusal to perform assigned duties due to religious beliefs
    2. Employee harassment based on religion
  2. Key provisions of EEOC guidance
    1. Definition of religion
    2. Duty to reasonably accommodate religious practices
    3. Definition of religious harassment
    4. Disparate treatment analysis
    5. Intersection of religion and other protected classes
  3. Title VII compliance strategies
    1. Clear, comprehensive, consistently-applied anti-discrimination and antiharassment policies
    2. Train managers and supervisors on managing people of different religions
    3. Effective and reasonable accommodation of religious practices
    4. Allow religious expression in the same way other personal expression is allowed
  4. Best practices for defending against discrimination claims and lawsuits
    1. Undue hardship
    2. Good faith efforts to accommodate
    3. Effective use of experts
    4. Discovery issues


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What provisions of the new EEOC guidance should be of primary concern to employers and their counsel?
  • How should an employer respond to an employee's request for accommodation based on religion?
  • What are the employers' responsibilities for providing "reasonable accommodations" for an employee's religious practices?
  • What are the best practices for employers to defend against religious discrimination claims?


Christopher Kuczynski
Christopher Kuczynski
Assistant Legal Counsel
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

He supervises the development of policy guidance interpreting Title I of the ADA and advises EEOC staff on ADA...  |  Read More

Stephen E. Fox
Stephen E. Fox

Fish & Richardson

He focuses on employment litigation and proactive human resources counseling regarding employment discrimination and...  |  Read More

Gayla Crain
Gayla Crain

Spencer Crain Cubbage Healy & McNamara

She counsels and represents public employers and companies in all aspects of labor and employment law. She has...  |  Read More

Access Anytime, Anywhere

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Audio