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EEOC issues new Compliance Manual section and guidance on religious bias

A new Compliance Manual section addressing workplace discrimination on the basis of religion was issued by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on July 22, 2008. The new Section 12 includes a comprehensive review of the relevant provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the EEOC's policies regarding religious discrimination, harassment and accommodation.

The federal agency also issued two companion guidance documents: Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace and Best Practices for Eradicating Religious Discrimination in the Workplace. All three documents are available on the EEOC's website at

New Compliance Manual Section 12 addresses what constitutes "religion" within the meaning of Title VII; disparate treatment based on religion; the requirement to reasonably accommodate religious beliefs and practices; religion-based harassment; and retaliation. It also provides guidance on the sometimes complex workplace issues involved in balancing employees' rights regarding religious expression with employers' need to maintain efficient, productive workplaces.

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