Alabama does not have a state law that prohibits religious discrimination in private employment. However, Alabama employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against employees and applicants under federal law in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There are additional details.
Accommodation required. Title VII requires employers to accommodate an employee's religious observance or practice unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship for the employer. An accommodation creates an undue hardship if it would result in more than a de minimis cost to the employer. In addition, employers are required to provide only a reasonable accommodation, not a choice of accommodations or the accommodation preferred by the employee.
In a case decided by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court ruled that once an employer has satisfied its obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation, it was not obligated to prove that the employee's proposed accommodations would create an undue hardship (Morrissette-Brown v. Mobile Infirmary Med. Ctr., 506 F.3d 1317 (11th Cir. 2007)). In this case, the employer permitted the employee to swap shifts and posted a master schedule to assist her. According to the court, once an employer has reasonably accommodated an employee's religious beliefs, it has satisfied its legal obligations and is not obliged to prove that the employee's alternative accommodations would create an undue hardship.
Practical tip: Determining an effective accommodation depends on the facts and circumstances of each employment situation. Employers should engage in an interactive process with an employee who requests an accommodation for religious reasons to ...