Requesting Religious Accommodations

Introduction:

Georgetown University maintains a Policy on Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Religion and National Origin.  As set forth in that policy, the University is sensitive to the diverse religious practices and observances of its current and prospective employees.  It is the University’s practice to provide a consistent and methodical approach in addressing requests for reasonable accommodations based on sincerely held religious beliefs.  

Religious accommodations can take many forms.  Some examples include:

  • Permitting an employee to take a particular day or time period off for a religious holiday
  • Permitting flexible scheduling
  • Permitting employees to wear certain religious garb, beards, or hairstyles
  • Providing an employee with a time and place to pray

Procedures:

Employees seeking accommodations for sincerely held religious beliefs should contact IDEAA. If a supervisor, academic representative, or Human Resources representative receives a verbal or written request for an accommodation, he or she must consult with IDEAA.

Note:  Whenever possible, such requests should be made at least 30 days in advance of the desired accommodation.

IDEAA will provide the employee with a Religious Accommodation Request Form, which the employee should complete and return to IDEAA.  The form asks for information on the specific religious belief or practice for which the employee is requesting an accommodation, as well as the requested accommodation or modification to policy, practice, or schedule.

Interactive Process

Once an employee has requested an accommodation, the University will engage the employee and the employee’s department in a dialogue known as “the interactive process” to determine what accommodation, if any, is appropriate. 

Note:  No specific accommodation is guaranteed.  Rather, accommodations are determined on an individualized basis and must be tailored to match the needs of the employee without placing an undue hardship on the department. 

In making this determination, IDEAA, in conjunction with the appropriate departmental supervisor or official, may consider a number of relevant factors, including: 

  • The nature and duration of the requested accommodation.
  • The impact of the requested accommodation on the performance of the employee’s essential functions or core work-related duties.
  • The financial impact of the requested accommodation.
  • The impact of the requested accommodation on other employees, students, or university operations.  Note that this may include consideration of seniority within the same unit or department.
  • Any alternative accommodations. 

IDEAA may require an employee to submit additional documentation related to the tenets of the religious practice or belief to support the request.  Documentation requested may vary depending on the nature of the accommodation requested.  

If no reasonable accommodation can be made, the employee is notified in writing.

Work Plan

If an accommodation is deemed appropriate and reasonable, both the employee and the departmental representative are notified and a religious accommodation work plan is implemented for the duration specified.

IDEAA will monitor the work plan and review it on occasion to ensure the accommodation enables the employee to complete the necessary work tasks and to ensure effectiveness.