A. Anne Arundel Community College prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of religion.
B. The purpose of this Religious Accommodations Policy (“Policy”) is to describe the rights of Employees and Students to request and receive Religious Accommodations in accordance with the College’s policies and relevant laws and regulations regarding Religious Beliefs.
II. Scope and Applicability. This Policy applies to all Employees, Applicants, and Students of the College.
A. Academic Requirement means an activity that is required for completion of an academic class or program of study, including but not limited to, an assignment, examination, assessment, or class attendance, in credit or non-credit course or program of study, including but not limited to, laboratory courses.
B. Activity or Activities collectively refers to Academic Requirements, Co-Curricular Programs, and Services.
C. Applicant means an individual who applies for a position of employment at the College.
D. Authorized Employee means the Employee who oversees a Co-Curricular Program or is responsible for the provision of a Service.
E. Business Day means any day that is not a Saturday or Sunday or day that the College is closed, such as holidays, spring break, winter break, or other day that the College announces that it is closed.
F. Co-Curricular Program means an organized activity that is made available to Students outside of the Student’s classes, and includes, but is not limited to, athletic teams and activities, student run clubs and organizations, and performing arts groups.
G. Employee includes all faculty, staff, temporary employees, and contractual employees employed by the College.
H. Essential Function of an Activity means a function that is necessary to perform, engage in, or allow access to the Activity; a fundamental learning outcome of a course, program of study, or Academic Requirement being pursued by a Student; or a function of the Academic Requirement directly related to a licensing or certification requirement to practice in the field or occupation.
I. Essential Function of a Job means the fundamental job duties of the employment position the Employee holds or desires. A job function is essential if the position exists to perform that job function, the function is highly specialized, or there are a limited number of Employees who can perform that function. The term “essential function” does not include the marginal functions of the position.
J. Fundamental Alteration means a Religious Accommodation that is so significant that it changes an Essential Function of an Activity. Factors to be considered are set forth in the accompanying Procedure.
K. Service means a non-academic service provided by the College to Students and/or Employees, including but not limited to, dining services, College identification cards, technology services, parking, fitness facilities, library services, the bookstore, performances and events on campus, computer labs, disability support services, academic advising, admissions, financial aid services, academic tutoring, testing, career and community services, Help-Link program, the Food Pantry, health and wellness services, personal counseling, and student achievement and success programs, and other similar services.
L. Student means an individual who is currently enrolled in classes at the College, including credit or non-credit bearing classes and seeking credit through prior learning assessments, and students who are registered for a future term, but does not include applicants for admission to the College or individuals who have applied and been accepted to the College but have not yet registered for a term.
M. Religious Accommodation means a reasonable modification or adjustment to a job, the work or academic environment, or the hiring process that enables an Employee or Student to exercise Religious Beliefs.
N. Religious Belief means all aspects of religious beliefs and Religious Practices and Observances, whether the beliefs, practices, or observances are common or non-traditional, theistic or non-theistic, or are recognized by any organized religion, so long as the beliefs, practices, or observances are religious in the person’s own life. Religious Beliefs include moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong, which are sincerely held. Religious Belief does not include social, political, or economic philosophies, or mere personal preferences.
O. Religious Holidays means holidays for reasons of faith, conscience, or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization.
P. Religious Practices and Observances include attending worship services, celebrating Religious Holidays, praying, wearing religious garb or symbols, displaying religious objects, adhering to certain dietary rules, proselytizing or other forms of religious expression, and refraining from certain activities. Whether the practice is religious is a situational, case-by-case inquiry, focusing not on what the practice or observance is but on whether the Employee’s or Student’s participation in the practice or observance is pursuant to a Religious Belief.
Q. Undue Hardship means a Religious Accommodation that results in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of the College’s business. Factors to be considered are set forth in the accompanying Procedures.
IV. Religious Accommodations
A. All requests for Religious Accommodations will be handled in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and the accompanying Procedures.
B. Religious Accommodations are not guaranteed, and the decision to provide a Religious Accommodation will be made at the College’s sole discretion following an interactive process.
1. Once on notice, the College will engage in an interactive dialogue regarding a request for a Religious Accommodation with an Employee or Applicant whose sincerely held Religious Belief conflicts with their performance of job duties, a hiring practice, or the ability to access a Service(s).
2. Once on notice, the College will engage in an interactive dialogue regarding a request for a Religious Accommodation with a Student whose sincerely held Religious Belief conflicts with their performance, engagement in, or ability to access an Activity.
C. The College may deny a request for a Religious Accommodation if it would cause an Undue Hardship or Fundamental Alteration.
D. No Employee or Student will be retaliated against for requesting a Religious Accommodation.
V. Use of College Facilities for Religious Practices
A. The College has created various spaces on campus for personal faith-based, religious, and/or secular practice related to meditation, prayer, and reflection for Students and Employees.
B. A list of locations will be maintained on the College’s Facilities Available for Religious Practices webpage.
C. These spaces can be accessed in accordance with the Serenity Space Guidelines.
Policy Title: Interim Religious Accommodations Policy
Policy Category: General
Policy Owner: President
Policy Administrators: Executive Director of Human Resources (for Employees and Applicants) and Dean of Student Development (for Students)
Approval Date: July 12, 2023
Effective Date: July 1, 2023
History: Interim Policy approved on June 28, 2023; Updates to Interim Policy approved on July 12, 2023
Applies to: Employees, including applicants for employment, and Students of the College
Related Policies: N/A