Religious Garb Law

LAURA A. BALSON

Partner

MARGARET A. GISCH

Partner


Religious Garb Law

In 2017, Illinois amended its Human Rights Act to strengthen protections granted to an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. The amended statute, known as the Religious Garb Law, prohibits an employer from taking action that would cause an employee to “violate or forgo a sincerely held practice of his or her religion including but not limited to, the wearing of any attire, clothing, or facial hair in accordance with the requirements of his or her religion.” These beliefs could affect an employee’s ability to work on certain days or times, work with certain foods or products, engage in prayer, attend worship services, or observe religious holidays. Additionally, an employee might need to display religious objects or markings, refrain from participation in certain activities at work, and/or wear certain garments.

An employer must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs unless it would cause undue hardship to the employer’s business. These accommodations could include flexible scheduling, shift swapping, job reassignment, permitting the employer’s facility to be used for religious activities, and exceptions to dress or grooming policies. However, employers can still have a dress code or grooming policy that restricts attire, clothing, or facial hair in order to maintain workplace safety or food sanitation. Employers must post a summary of the Religious Garb Law’s protections in a conspicuous location. Please contact the vendor that provides your required employment posters to obtain an updated poster.