New Washington Law Extends Rights for Religious Practices

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Governor Jay Inslee has signed in to law a bill that assures state employees (and public school students) two days off per calendar years for religious holiday. Our business clients, particularly those with heavy weekend and holiday need, may wish to anticipate similar requests being made to them as well for unpaid holidays as a “reasonable accommodation” for religious practices. As reported in an earlier blog and at our last Employment Law Breakfast, the Washington State Supreme Court has recently ruled that the Washington Law Against Discrimination mandates reasonable accommodation of religious practice for companies with 8 or more employees. The new law specifically provides for “two unpaid holidays per calendar year for a reason of faith or conscience or an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church or religious organization.” Employers who face issues regarding this new duty to reasonably accommodate the religious practice of an employee may wish to consult with their attorney.

Related Post: Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) extends employer liability for religious discrimination.

About the Authors

Karen Kalzer

Ms. Kalzer practices employment and education law with an emphasis on defending complex litigation for communities of faith, non-profits, schools and private employers.

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