I am starting a company and I am setting a no-beard policy, where do I legally stand when it comes to a religious exemption and when would it be ok to not offer employment to those who would fall under that category?
Under the Civil Rights Act, you cannot discrimination against someone's sincerely held religious belief if you have the no beard policy and their religion requires a beard or at least prohibits shaving.
The exception to this is the legitimate business neccesities rule, if the rule you are putting in place is completely based in a need for the business and any exception could be severely problematic, you could not hire such individuals, but you will have to be VERY careful as lawsuits in this arena are very expensive.
Example: there are protections for applicants with HIV or AIDS, but this applicant applies to a blook bank in a position where he/she will handle needles and blood samples...the job has a legitimate interest in making preventing contamination of the blood samples/donations.
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