New EEOC Publications on Religious Garb and Grooming


Last week, the EEOC issued two new publications addressing religious garb and grooming in the workplace.  The guides are designed to provide practical advice to employers and employees regarding the applicable law and case examples.

The publications clarify that Title VII employers must make exceptions to their general dress and grooming policies for those applicants and employees who adhere to religiously-mandated dress and grooming practices.  The publications state, however, that employers need not permit such exceptions if they would pose an undue hardship, such as a safety, security, or health concern.  As set forth in the publications, employers are not permitted to segregate employees based on their religious garb by, for example, assigning an employee to a non-customer contact position.  Moreover, employers cannot engage in disparate treatment, retaliation, or harassment based on religious belief or practice.

Employers may need to update their employee handbooks and workplace policies in order to reflect this new guidance from the EEOC.  Please feel free to contact Connell Foley’s employment law attorneys for assistance in implementing these guidelines and any other workplace policy issue your company may be facing.