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Religious and Disability Accommodations
Employee requests for medical and/or religious accommodations in the workplace are not new. However, never before have these accommodation requests been such a hot-button topic, nor have these accommodation requests been used so frequently (and in particular, religious accommodation requests). The imposition of COVID-19 vaccine mandates has changed that, particularly with regard to religious accommodation requests, which has become the ultimate “gray area,” as both employers and employees alike have learned that sincerely held religious belief can include an employee's religious-based objection to vaccinations. As a result, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued guidance regarding the obligations of employers under Title VII when an employee presents with a religious objection to a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, which actually builds upon prior EEOC guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccinations in the employment context. Thus, there are multiple issues that employers need to keep in mind and juggle when addressing these vaccination accommodation requests.

Participants in this webinar will learn how to best deal with such requests by their employees, including:

• Tips for determining whether an employee has a sincerely held religious belief under Title VII or a disability under the ADA;
• How to legitimately assess whether the proposed accommodation poses a direct threat to your organization;
• Factors to understand as to whether the accommodation would be considered an “undue hardship;”
• Reminders on how to initiate and participate in the interactive process;
• Analysis of most recent EEOC guidance on this topic.

​This program is valid for 1.00 PDC for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.

Apr 7, 2022 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Andrew J. Sommer
Partner, Labor • Employment Practice and OSHA • Workplace Safety Groups, Conn Maciel Carey LLP
Andrew Sommer is a partner in Conn Maciel Carey’s San Francisco office. He advises employers on a wide range of labor and employment matters, and defends against claims of discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, wage and hour violations and wrongful termination. Mr. Sommer also represents employers in inspections and enforcement actions involving Cal/OSHA.
Jordan B. Schwartz
Partner, Labor • Employment Practice Group, Conn Maciel Carey LLP
Jordan B. Schwartz is a partner in Conn Maciel Carey’s national Labor • Employment Practice Group. He focuses his practice on representing employers in all aspects of the employment relationship. Mr. Schwartz defends employers against claims of discrimination and harassment, wage and hour violations, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breaches of non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants. He has particular expertise defending property owners and managers against claims by hotel guests alleging lack of accessibility under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and routinely conducts on-site inspections of properties and modifies their policies and practices to ensure compliance with the ADA. Mr. Schwartz also routinely defends employers against claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws. Mr. Schwartz has extensive expertise in the hospitality industry.