From the Hotline: Are We Required to Provide a Private Space for Praying?
Question: In our office, everyone sits in open spaces to work. We do have some private rooms for meetings. By law do we legally have to provide a quiet private space for an employee to pray?
Answer: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires an employer, once on notice that a religious accommodation is needed, to reasonably accommodate an employee whose sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance conflicts with a work requirement, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. Under Title VII, the undue hardship defense to providing religious accommodation requires showing that the proposed accommodation in a particular case poses a “more than de minimis” cost or burden. An accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.
Unless allowing this employee to use one of the private meeting rooms for his prayers would be an undue hardship to the business, we would recommend that you accommodate this employee’s request.