Employer Alert: The Washington Supreme Court Mandates New Obligations for Employers Under State Law to Accommodate Employees’ Religious Beliefs
In a dramatic shift in Washington state law on accommodating religious beliefs, the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc. recognized, for the first time, that the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) imposes an obligation on employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ bona fide religious beliefs. The Kumar decision overruled an earlier appellate court decision holding that the WLAD does not recognize a “failure-to-accommodate” theory for religious accommodations. Thus, the Kumar decision has recognized a state law failure-to-accommodate claim where none previously existed.
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