On November 9, 2011, New York Attorney General Eric R. Schneiderman announced the launch of the Religious Rights Initiative Project, which will be carried out by the Civil Rights Bureau in the Attorney General’s Office. The purpose of the project is to use public education, outreach, and litigation to target violations of laws protecting religious rights (including promoting the process for filing religious discrimination complaints). The Bureau also will advance its enforcement efforts to combat religious discrimination. The Attorney General has suggested that employers establish clear policies and criteria for processing requests for religious accommodation. This would include provisions:
- Informing employees of their right to request reasonable accommodations;
- Establishing procedures for making such requests;
- Training managers and supervisors to consider all available accommodation options;
- Conferring promptly with employees about their religious needs, proposed accommodations, and available options; and
- Avoiding stereotypes about reli¬gious practices, beliefs or the types of accommodations that are appropriate.
More information about the initiative is available here.