Why Should We Accommodate?

Some rules, apparently neutral or egalitarian, cause direct or indirect discrimination against the disabled, pregnant women or minorities. In some cases, the law based on reasonable accommodation requires the State, individuals and private companies to alter standards, legitimate and justified practices or policies that apply equally to all, to reflect the special needs of certain minorities.

In everyday life, especially the workplace or school, it is sometimes difficult to balance work schedules and participation in religious ceremonies. Some examples:

  • The school holiday calendar is modeled on Christian holidays, though other religious minorities exist;
  • School rules banning the possession of weapons by students or prohibiting the wearing of distinctive clothing have a discriminatory effect on those whose religion requires them to have with them at all times a ceremonial dagger, the kirpan (Sikh ) or to wear the hijab (Muslim) or the kippa (Jewish);
  • The condition that requires employees - teachers, for example – to attend work on certain days that are for them religious holidays other than Christmas, is in effect discriminatory and contrary to their freedom of religion;
  • The practice of serving, in a school cafeteria, the same menu with pork or the meat of animals not ritually slaughtered, is in effect discriminatory and contrary to the freedom of religion of people of Jewish or Muslim religion; to always serve food containing meat in the workplace canteen has a discriminatory impact on vegetarian employees.

How can the apparently fair "one rule for all" avoid unfair results, since it forces individuals or minority groups to adapt to the lifestyle of the majority?