A new employee has asked that she be permitted to wear skirts in our manufacturing plant instead of pants as required by our company's dress code, because her religion prohibits her from wearing pants. Am I required to grant her request?
Possibly, depending on the reason your company requires workers to wear pants. Employers covered by Title VII are required to provide a reasonable accommodation for the religious beliefs or practices of an employee, unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the employer's business. If you require employees to wear pants because of a legitimate safety concern, such as a history of accidents that have occurred due to skirts getting caught in the plant's machinery, granting the request could create an undue hardship. Whether you are required to grant this request depends, in large part, on the specific facts of the situation. State and local laws may provide different or additional protections to employees.