regarding the harassment and demanding that it cease, that
appropriate disciplinary action be taken if it continues, and/or that
a different mail carrier be assigned to Julia’s route.
Special Considerations for Employers When Balancing Anti-Harassment and
Accommodation Obligations With Respect to Religious Expression
While some employees believe that religion is intensely personal and private, others are
open about their religion.
There are employees who may believe that they have a religious
obligation to share their views and to try to persuade co-workers of the truth of their religious
, to proselytize.
Some employers, too, may wish to express their religious views and
share their religion with their employees.
As noted above, however, some employees may
perceive proselytizing or other religious expression as unwelcome harassment based on their
own religious beliefs and observances, or lack thereof.
This mix of divergent beliefs and
practices can give rise to conflicts requiring employers to balance the rights of employees who
wish to express their religious beliefs with the rights of other employees to be free from religious
harassment under the foregoing Title VII harassment standards.
As discussed in more detail in
IV-C-6 of this document, an employer never has to
accommodate expression of a religious belief in the workplace where such an accommodation
could potentially constitute harassment of co-workers, because that would pose an undue
hardship for the employer.
Therefore, while Title VII requires employers to accommodate an
employee’s sincerely held religious belief in engaging in religious expression (
proselytizing) in the workplace, an employer does not have to allow such expression if it imposes
an undue hardship on the operation of the business.
For example, it would be an undue hardship
for an employer to accommodate proselytizing by an employee if it constituted potentially
When asked whether they had discussed religion in the workplace in the past twenty-four hours,
48% of Americans answered yes.
George Gallup, Jr. & Timothy Jones,
The Next American
Spirituality: Finding God in the Twenty-First Century
, at 72 (Cook Communication Ministries 2000).
Employers are permitted to exercise their religion to the extent that such exercise does not
infringe on their employees’ religious beliefs.
, 859 F.2d at 621 (“Where the religious practices
of employers . . . and employees conflict, Title VII does not, and could not, require individual employers
to abandon their religion. Rather, Title VII attempts to reach a mutual accommodation of the conflicting
In a survey conducted by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, 66% of
employees surveyed reported that they had witnessed religious discrimination in the workplace.
Bias in the Workplace: The Employee’s View
(Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, 1999)
(executive summary available at
) (last visited July 2,