How do religion and the workplace fit together? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for handling employment-related religious discrimination claims, just updated its Compliance Manual on Religious Discrimination to extensively address this question in terms of both employers’ and employees’ legal rights. Among other things, the Manual defines religion itself, addresses important employment exemptions, and explains key concepts like harassment and required “reasonable accommodation.” The Manual also works through employees’ religious rights in the workplace, such as taking religious holidays, wearing religious garb, displaying religious symbols and literature, and sharing religious views with others.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many people are still working from home. This arrangement raises important questions. May employees take advantage of tax breaks related to having a home office? Must the employer pay for the expenses of setting up a workspace at the employee’s home? What related information should employers and employees be aware of? Workers may be able to obtain tax deductions or tax-free reimbursements from their employer due to working at home, but they have to meet specific requirements as follows.
COVID-19 has made working from home commonplace, with many identifiable benefits from operating with a mostly remote workforce. Since COVID-19 relegated workers across America to home offices, nonprofit and other employers have realized significant costs savings with a smaller office footprint and also greater opportunities for attracting top-tier job candidates outside their ordinary geographical reach. Such benefits may transform remote work from a temporary solution, to address for workers’ health and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, into predominantly more long-term remote work arrangements.