Following the implementation of this new schedule, several Muslim employees were disciplined or terminated for taking unauthorized breaks.They took those breaks because they did not think the new schedule adequately accommodated their religion and/or because the change from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time made the new schedule incompatible with their required religious practice.This requires accommodation of an employee based on the protected discriminatory ground to the point of undue hardship.
However, other requests which may detrimentally impact the operations of the employer's business, or bring competing rights into play may be more difficult to implement.
Failure to properly accommodate an employee's religious beliefs could not only lead to potential human rights complaints, but also negative media coverage, as was the case with York University.
Specifically, employers are prohibited from discriminating against potential or current employees on certain grounds, including race, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, and disability.
Implied in the prohibition against discrimination is a positive duty on the part of the employer to accommodate their employees' needs for reasons associated with recognized discriminatory grounds, which is known more simply as the duty to accommodate.
As evidenced by the York University incident, accommodation of religious beliefs can be a controversial topic, particularly as organizations respond to an increasingly diverse workforce or student population.