1,940: Policy on Religious Accommodation for Employees

Revised: January 2017

Policy Statement

The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to providing a place of work and learning free of discrimination on the basis of a person's age, disability, whether actual or perceived by others (including service-connected disabilities), gender (including pregnancy related conditions), military status or military obligations, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, race, or religion. Consistent with this commitment, the university will make a good faith effort to provide a reasonable accommodation of an employee's sincerely held religious, ethical or moral belief that conflicts with a work requirement. An accommodation that would create an undue hardship for the university and/or require the university to violate its policies or local, state or federal law is not reasonable. Nothing in this policy may be interpreted as allowing an employee to discriminate against or to refuse service to another person on the basis of that person's age, disability, whether actual or perceived by others (including service-connected disabilities), gender (including pregnancy related conditions), military status or military obligations, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, race, or religion.

Definitions

Reasonable Religious Accommodation
An adjustment in the tasks or requirements of the job that does not pose an undue hardship for the university in its business or operations or violate its policies or the law and that enables an employee to participate in his/her religious practice or belief.

Religious Practice or Belief
A sincerely held practice or observance that includes moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong, most commonly in the context of the cause, nature and purpose of the universe. Social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, do not constitute a religious practice or belief.

Undue Hardship
An undue hardship is any act that would require the University to bear greater than a de minimus cost in accommodating the employee's religious practice or belief. Such a cost includes not only monetary concerns, but also the University's burden in conducting its business. Factors that may be considered in weighing whether an accommodation would constitute an undue hardship include, but are not limited to, financial cost, size of the workforce, number of employees seeking accommodation, administrative requirements of the accommodation, the essential functions of the position, duration of the requested accommodation, safety concerns, a negative effect on the quality of work, a negative effect on the educational experience, a negative effect on carrying out the instructional mission, the burden of additional responsibilities for other employees, the burden of less attractive assignments or work hours on other employees. As used in this policy, "de minimus" means negligible.

Essential Function
A fundamental job duty of a position as defined in UAM 2, 646 for faculty or in the classified staff essential functions for the position.

Procedure

An employee who seeks a reasonable accommodation under this policy should make a written request directly to his/her supervisor, explaining the basis for the request, including identifying the conflict. A supervisor may not unilaterally grant or deny a request for a reasonable accommodation under this policy. The supervisor shall forward the request to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX. Under the direction of the Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office, the Accommodation Committee and the employee shall engage in the interactive process in reviewing the request and exploring the availability of a reasonable accommodation. The Accommodation Committee shall seek input from the employee's supervisor and the appropriate dean or vice president or their designee. The Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office shall respond to the employee in writing regarding the request.

Depending on the circumstances, reasonable accommodations might include, but are not limited to, voluntary work swaps between employees, flexible use of work hours or breaks, optional holidays, lateral transfers of employees to other assignments or locations, and use of paid or unpaid leave.