Friday, November 18, 2016

Sikhs, Drug testing, and Religious Accommodation

Not official use.
Under Title VII, employers have an obligation to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees and job applicants. The EEOC reports: J.B. Hunt Transport Settles EEOC Religious Discrimination Charge for $260,000.

The case involved Sikhs, who applied for jobs and were required to submit a hair sample for drug testing. Per the EEOC release, "One of the five articles of faith for Sikhs is maintaining uncut hair." Three applicants were denied employment based on their failure to submit to the tests.

J.B. Hunt did not admit liability but agreed to pay the $260,000, offered the Sikh applicants jobs, and revised its drug testing policy.
The article is not clear as to how the policy was revised. There are alternatives to hair testing (saliva, blood, urine, etc.) - but I do not know enough about Sikhs to know whether those actually accommodate all of their beliefs.