Resources

EEO Posters

Sexual Misconduct

Religious Accommodations

Religious Accommodations

Guidance on commonly asked questions related to religious belief and expression at the University

Religious Symbols   

Given that the University is a public institution, it cannot promote one religious practice or observance to the exclusion or diminution of others.  As such, the display of religious symbols in public spaces is discouraged because it could be perceived as a demonstration that the University favors one religion over another, or favors religion generally over nonreligious beliefs.  The display of religious symbols in public spaces is also contrary to the University’s commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination based on religious identity. The display of religious symbols in private spaces, however, like the display of other personal objects in individual work areas, is permitted.

Holiday Parties  

Employee holiday parties are not an allowable expense under University policy.  Even if University funds are not used, workplace celebrations that are connected to a particular religious holiday (or to multiple holidays with different religious affiliations) are discouraged.  Instead, supervisors should arrange for celebrations and other functions that are inclusive to all employees, and not connected to a particular religious holiday or holidays.  This is the case even if everyone in a particular unit celebrates the holiday that is connected to the workplace celebration.

Respect  

University members are expected to demonstrate respect for those whose beliefs and practices may differ, regardless of what religion one practices or whether one practices none at all.  In particular, supervisors should be mindful not to use their authority in a way that could be perceived as requiring or discouraging religious expression by their employees.

Accommodations

The University is committed to providing equal access to, and opportunity in, its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to religion.  At times, a conflict may arise between the University’s neutral rules or expectations and a University member’s religious beliefs or practices. For example, a University member may need to miss class or work on a religious holiday, or take time away from class or work to pray. In such situations, the University may be required to provide accommodations for students’ and employees’ religious beliefs and practices.

A reasonable accommodation eliminates the conflict between a neutral University rule or expectation and a student’s or employee’s religious belief or practice.  Ideally, a reasonable accommodation permits the individual requesting the accommodation to fulfill their academic and work responsibilities, as well as follow their religious beliefs and practices, without unnecessarily disadvantaging that individual.

Students and employees can request accommodations for religious beliefs and practices from their instructors, supervisors, or other appropriate University authorities. Employees who receive accommodation requests should make reasonable efforts to grant the requested accommodation or to grant another accommodation that would permit the student or employee to fulfill their academic or work responsibilities and follow their religious beliefs and practices.

If a University authority believes that they cannot grant an accommodation request because there is no alternate means for the student or employee to fulfill their academic or work responsibilities, or because the requested accommodation would otherwise create an undue hardship, the University authority should consult with EOAA, or another appropriate resource such as Human Resources, before denying the accommodation request.

Tips for making and receiving religious accommodation requests:

Individuals who require religious accommodations should: 

  • Request them in advance if possible.
  • Review the policies linked below.
  • Consult with EOAA or another appropriate resource, such as Human Resources, as needed.

Individuals in a position to receive accommodation requests should: 

  • Refrain from making assumptions about an individual’s religious beliefs, practices, or accommodation needs based on the individual’s appearance, clothing, national origin or other personal characteristic.
  • Refrain from making assumptions about an individual’s accommodation needs based on an individual’s known religious beliefs or practices.
  • Focus discussion about an individual’s accommodation requests on the possible accommodations that would permit the individual to fulfill their academic or work responsibilities and follow their religious beliefs and practices, and not on the individual’s religious beliefs or practices themselves.
  • Review the policies linked below.
  • Consult with EOAA or another appropriate resource, such as Human Resources, as needed.

Religious Holidays and Observances

University Policies

EEOC and Other Resources

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Education

Education

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) offers a variety of educational workshops to the University community. For large audiences, EOAA also can customize workshops to specifically address a unit’s needs.

Workshops include:

  • EOAA Supervisors’ Toolkit
  • EOAA Graduate Students' Toolkit
  • Identifying and Responding to Sexual Misconduct
  • Sexual Harassment: Awareness, Prevention, and Response
  • Religious Accommodation at the University of Minnesota

To learn more or to schedule a workshop for your unit, please contact EOAA at (612) 624-9547 or eoaa@umn.edu

Personal Support Resources

Personal Support Resources

The University also offers a number of confidential resources for personal support, including:

Other resources, including community resources, can be found here.

For resources on the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester campuses, please visit:

Culture and Climate

Culture and Climate

University Resources

University Resources

Other offices at the University may be able to help you address your experiences.  For example: