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You Make the Call: When Discrimination Rights Collide

SITUATION

Rita is very religious and asks for an exemption from the company no-smoking policy so she can burn incense at his workstation as part of her daily prayers. Debbie, who works one station away, vehemently objects to the request because she’s allergic to smoke.

YOU MAKE THE CALL

What should the company do?

Side with Rita because religious rights supersede disability rights
Side with Debbie because disability rights supersede religious rights
Side with whichever employee has more seniority
None of the above

ANSWER

None of the above

EXPLANATION

Human rights laws require employers to accommodate employees’ religion, disabilities, family and other personal needs to the point of undue hardship. But what happens when accommodating one employee would require you to impose on the rights of another? This scenario illustrates how employers are expected to handle these “competing human rights” situations.

The Ideal Solution

The first rule is that there’s no hierarchy o...

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