Procedure for Religious Accommodation

Title

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Procedure for Religious Accommodation

Introduction

Purpose

This Procedure outlines the procedures for seeking, evaluating, and granting requests for accommodations of Religious Beliefs and Practices.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment that is respectful of the Religious Beliefs and Practices of all members of the University community. As part of this commitment, the University will make good faith efforts to provide reasonable Religious Accommodations to individuals covered by this Policy whose sincerely held Religious Beliefs and Practices conflict with a University policy, procedure, or other academic or employment requirement unless such an accommodation would create an Undue Hardship.

The University is committed to diversity and nondiscrimination and supports the employment of all qualified individuals, regardless of religious affiliation or beliefs. This commitment is in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its accompanying regulations, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Religion, and North Carolina General Statue § 116-11(3a).

Scope of Applicability

This Procedure applies to the conduct of, and protects, University students and employees, including faculty members; EHRA non‑faculty employees; SHRA employees; graduate, professional, and doctoral students; post-doctoral scholars; and student employees. The Procedure also applies to contractors and other third parties, including applicants, under circumstances within the University’s control.

Procedure

Procedures for Seeking Religious Accommodation

To request a Religious Accommodation, a covered individual should submit the Religious Accommodation Request Form to the Religious Accommodations Advisory Committee (RAAC) via email at religiousaccommodations@unc.edu or in person at the Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) Office, located at 214 W. Cameron Ave. Chapel Hill, NC 27599. The RAAC may request that covered individuals provide additional documentation or information to support the request.

The University will endeavor to protect the requesting individual’s privacy in evaluating and implementing a Religious Accommodation to the extent possible. However, following receipt of the request, the RAAC will discuss the accommodation request as necessary with the requestor and with other appropriate individuals to further evaluate and/or implement the accommodation. For undergraduate students requesting an excused absence from class as a Religious Accommodation, the RAAC will notify the University Approved Absence Office of any such approved request.

The RAAC will evaluate Religious Accommodations on a case‑by‑case basis, taking into account relevant factors including, but not limited to, the fundamental requirements of the applicable academic program and/or related technical standards; the requirements of the course; the essential functions of an individual’s job; the duties of others in the department or job group; the requirements of the department or major; the potential effects of the accommodation on the individual, his or her fellow students or co-workers, and the University; the duration of the accommodation request; and the availability of alternative accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Allowance for University approved absences from class;
  • Ability to reschedule academic work or deadlines;
  • Providing flexible work schedules to accommodate religious observance, including flexible arrival times, departure times, breaks, or floating holidays;
  • Permitting employees to make up time lost due to religious observance;
  • Allowing voluntary schedule, shift, or assignment substitutes or swaps;
  • Allowing lateral transfers and/or change of job assignment;
  • Permitting dress or grooming related to Religious Beliefs; or
  • Access to private spaces for prayer

The University is not required to accept a requested preferred accommodation if there is more than one alternative that eliminates the religious conflict. When there is more than one alternative that eliminates the religious conflict, the University will offer the alternative which least disadvantages the individual. Moreover, these accommodations will not be required if any or all of them cause an Undue Hardship in a particular case.

Decisions of the RAAC will be provided in writing to the requesting individual. A covered individual who is not satisfied with the decision regarding their request for accommodations is encouraged to work with the EOC to resolve any disagreements. If the covered individual is unable to resolve their concerns, they may appeal by making a formal report to a Report and Response Coordinator or the Director of Equal Opportunity and Compliance in the EOC under the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct for failure to accommodate.

A covered individual who believes that a supervisor, faculty member, or other University employee is not appropriately implementing the predetermined accommodations should report their concerns to a Report and Response Coordinator or the Director of Equal Opportunity and Compliance in the EOC, who will resolve the matter in accordance with the Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct.

Individuals with questions about this Policy and/or its application may contact the RAAC at 919‑966‑3576 or at religiousaccommodations@unc.edu.

More information about procedures for specific types of accommodations requests, including time-sensitive requests for absences, is provided below.

A. Absences - Students (including Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Students)

Per North Carolina state law, students are allowed at least two excused absences per academic year for religious observances. Requests for more than two excused absences per academic year for religious observances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis taking into account relevant factors set out above.

Students who anticipate being absent from classes because of Religious Beliefs or Practices must submit the Religious Accommodation Request Form to the RAAC at least two weeks in advance of the date requested, or as soon as possible if the date occurs within the first weeks of the semester.

Requests for absences from an internship or externship, field placement, or other practical learning experience outside the classroom will be assessed on an individual, case-by-case basis in consultation with the University placement supervisor and the field placement supervisor.

A student whose absence has been approved by the RAAC is still responsible for working directly with individual course faculty or instructor(s) to reschedule exams or paper deadlines and to submit all required course work. A student whose absence has been approved by RAAC will not be penalized for their absence. If a student requests a particular form of make-up work or a particular extension to accommodate a religious belief, the student should request that particular accommodation on the Religious Accommodation Request Form, in addition to the request for the absence from class.

Being absent from class or excused from other educational responsibilities does not relieve students of their responsibility to keep up with any information shared or expectations set during the missed class(es). Students are responsible for working with their individual course faculty or instructors to make alternate arrangements to obtain materials and information provided during any missed class(es).

B. Absences - Employees (including Faculty, Staff, and Postdoctoral Scholars)

Employees who anticipate being absent from work because of a religious observance must submit their request for time off in advance and as soon as they become aware of the need, preferably at least ten (10) business days in advance.

The University will make reasonable efforts to accommodate an employee’s request for absences to the extent possible by allowing flexible arrival and departure times, floating or optional holidays, flexible work breaks, or considering schedule substitutions with colleagues of substantially similar qualifications, which may need to be arranged by or with the assistance of the requesting employee. It is voluntary and not required for colleagues of substantially similar qualifications to agree to a schedule substitution for an employee requesting a Religious Accommodation.

C. Contractors and Other Third Parties, Including Applicants, Under Circumstances Within the University’s Control

Contractors and Other Third Parties working under circumstances within the University’s control should notify their University contact if they want to request a Religious Accommodation. Their University contact can provide the individual with a copy of the Religious Accommodation Request Form and contact information for the RAAC and may, at the individual’s request, submit the completed Religious Accommodation Request Form to the RAAC on behalf of the individual if the individual is unable to submit the form in person or by e-mail to the RAAC as set out above.

Applicants for Employment requesting a Religious Accommodation should notify the recruitment contact or search committee chair. The contact for the recruitment or search committee chair can provide the individual with a copy of the Religious Accommodation Request Form and contact information for the RAAC and may, at the applicant’s request, submit the completed Religious Accommodation Request Form to the RAAC on behalf of the applicant if the applicant is unable to submit the form in person or by e-mail to the RAAC as set out above.

Definitions

Religion: All aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.

Religious Accommodation: A reasonable change in the work or academic environment that enables an individual covered by this Policy to practice or otherwise observe a sincerely held religious practice or belief without Undue Hardship on the University. It can also include any necessary modification to a University policy, procedure, or other requirement for a covered individual’s Religious Beliefs, observance, or practice provided such accommodation is reasonable and does not cause Undue Hardship.

Religious Beliefs: Religious Beliefs include moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views. They include theistic as well as non-theistic beliefs. Personal preferences, or social, political, or economic philosophies, are not considered Religious Beliefs.

Religious Practices: A religious practice is one motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, not any secular purpose. Certain practices may have both secular and religious motivations, which may require a case-by-case inquiry as to the purpose behind the practice.

Undue Hardship: Imposition of more than a de minimis cost on the University’s operations, which may include those requests that are costly, compromise workplace safety, decrease workplace efficiency, infringe on the rights of other employees, or require other employees to do more than their fair share of the potentially hazardous or burdensome work.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Primary Contacts

For accommodation requests and/or questions or concerns related to this policy:

  • Religious Accommodations Advisory Committee (RAAC)
  • Email: religiousaccommodations@unc.edu

For complaints of discrimination or harassment based on Religion, including failure to accommodate:

  • Equal Opportunity and Compliance (EOC) Office
  • Email: eoc@unc.edu
  • Phone: 919‑966‑3576
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Details

Article ID: 131711
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:15 PM
Modified
Thu 7/29/21 12:16 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
03/11/2021 1:58 PM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Equal Opportunity and Compliance
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
03/11/2021 1:58 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
11/27/2018 11:00 PM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
11/28/2018 11:00 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Equal Opportunity and Compliance