Closed for Inclement Weather: Employer Best Practices

Winter weather advisory: snow, gusty winds, ice, and bitter cold are hitting much of our nation, with Chicagoans soon facing record wind chills of fifty below or worse. What should responsible nonprofits do to address inclement weather issues for their employees and program participants? And are employees entitled to pay for time missed due to inclement weather?

Volunteer Tax Deductions

Are expenses incurred for volunteer work deductible? Consider if a person is planning a church mission trip to El Salvador to help build houses, and the church will not cover the airfare. The volunteer may deduct his or her properly documented travel expenses and possibly other expenses as well. Similarly, if a person serves as a volunteer board member, his or her unreimbursed travel expenses to attend meetings and other functions may be deductible. Here are some guidelines to consider before you write off your charitable expenses.

Accommodating Religious Practices at Work: Patterson v. Walgreens

To what extent may an employee’s religious practices be legally protected in the workplace?  When former Walgreens employee Darrell Patterson refused to violate his Saturday Sabbath observance for a mandatory training, Walgreens fired him.  Patterson sued in federal court, lost at the trial and appellate levels, and is now seeking relief from the United States Supreme Court. Within the employment discrimination context, this religious liberty case raises critical legal issues for employers about (a) how much “reasonable accommodation” is required for employees’ religious practices and (b) what amounts an “undue hardship” for employers, in both concrete and theoretical terms.