Disability and Religious Accommodations

The Department of the Interior (DOI) provides reasonable accommodation for medical or religious reasons unless to do so would impose an undue hardship.  

Sunset view at Canyonlands National Park. Utah

Reasonable Accommodations

The Department of the Interior (DOI) provides reasonable accommodation for medical or religious reasons unless to do so would impose an undue hardship.  

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment, or the way things are customarily done that would enable:

  1. a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.  The Department’s reasonable accommodation policy is outlined within Personnel Bulletin 14-01 on Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities.
  2. An applicant or employee to practice or observe his or her religion.

Do you need to contact a Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator? Check the Contact list here.

Do you have questions about the Reasonable Accommodation Process? Please review the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines on Reasonable Accommodation. Click here to access the document. 

 

Disability Accommodation

A disability accommodation is an adjustment to a job or work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to perform their job duties.  There are three categories of disability accommodation:

  • Changes to the job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position the applicant desires.  For example, providing a sign language interpreter for an interview for an applicant who is hearing impaired.
  • Changes to the work environment, or to the way a job is usually done, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential function of that position.  For example, adjusting a work schedule or telework flexibility to enable a disabled employee to attend medical appointments.
  • Changes that enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.  For example, making adjustment to training or workshop materials for a visually impaired employee.

 

Religious Accommodation

A reasonable religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice their religious beliefs.  This applies not only to schedule changes or leave for religious observances, but also to such things as dress or grooming practices that an employee has for religious reasons. 

For example, an applicant may ask to reschedule an interview that is on a religious holiday or an employee may request an exception to a “no hats” rule to wear a religious head covering such as a yarmulke or hijab.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practice of an employee or prospective employee, unless to do so would cause an undue hardship to the employer.  When an employee or applicant needs a dress or grooming accommodation for religious reasons, they should notify the employer that they need such an accommodation for religious reasons.  If the employer reasonably needs more information, the employer and the employee should engage in an interactive process to discuss the request. 

To learn more about workplace religious accommodation, please visit these additional resources provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

 

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