Employment Discrimination Report (05/15/12) Richard Cohen
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not prohibit dress or grooming rules or employer acts based upon them. However, a religious accommodation must be made if the dress or grooming rule or policy affects employees who are members of a protected group, and if accommodation does not cause an undue hardship to the employer. A U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission attorney recently commented that “the baseline for evaluating grooming policies is to look at their overall burden on different groups of employees.” If the policy applies to all employees but has a disparate impact on a protected class of employees, it may violate Title VII.