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When does an accommodation pose an “undue hardship?”

When does an accommodation pose an “undue hardship?”

An accommodation would pose an undue hardship if it –would cause more than de minimis cost on the operation of CPB.  Factors relevant to undue hardship may include the type of workplace, the nature of the employee’s duties, the identifiable cost of the accommodation in relation to the size and operating costs of the agency, and the number of employees who will in fact need a particular accommodation.

Costs to be considered include not only direct monetary costs but also the burden on the conduct of CBP’s business.  For example, courts have found undue hardship where the accommodation diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other employees’ job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety, or causes co-workers to carry the accommodated employee’s share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work. Whether the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law will also be considered.

To prove undue hardship, CBP will need to demonstrate how much cost or disruption a proposed accommodation would involve.  The agency cannot rely on potential or hypothetical hardship when faced with a religious obligation that conflicts with scheduled work, but rather should rely on objective information.  A mere assumption that many more people with the same religious practices as the individual being accommodated may also seek accommodation is not evidence of undue hardship.  If the agency’s proposed accommodation would pose an undue hardship, the agency should explore alternative accommodations.