The EEOC published a sample form that employers can use for religious accommodation requests from workers, which have risen as Covid-19 vaccine mandates proliferate in the workplace.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s template is the same one the agency uses for its own employees, and was part of a Thursday update to guidance on discrimination issues during the pandemic.
The form suggests asking questions such as pointing to the policy that conflicts with a worker’s religious belief, the nature of the practice or observance, and what accommodation the worker is requesting.
Businesses have leeway to issue vaccine mandates, but must consider individual accommodation requests for disabilities and sincerely held religious beliefs. Recent lawsuits have challenged Covid-19 inoculation requirements, with some workers claiming the shots violate their beliefs. Courts have largely sided with employers and state governments in early rulings, however.
The Biden administration has mandated the shots for federal workers and government contractors. It also directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency regulation that will require vaccination or weekly testing for all workplaces with 100 or more employees.
The White House’s Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce previously issued a template for religious exemption requests to federal agencies and contractors