Employee Requesting Religious Accommodation Must Still Follow Leave Policy.
Employees eligible for leave as a religious accommodation are still required to comply with company policies governing leave requests, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (which covers Md., Va., W.Va., N.C. and S.C.) recently held.
Under Title VII, employers must provide reasonable accommodation for an employee’s religious needs, as long as such accommodation does not pose an undue hardship for the employer. Such reasonable accommodation can include leave. The employee, however, must comply with any policies regarding requesting leave, and may appropriately be disciplined for failing to comply with such policies. Thus, in Abeles v. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the Court threw out the plaintiff’s claim that the employer had failed to provide a reasonable accommodation because the plaintiff had clearly failed to follow the employer’s long-established and neutral rules requiring her to request and receive approval for leave.