Federal employee wins religious accommodation case. Complainant filed an appeal with the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in response to the Agency’s Final Decision concerning his EEO complaint alleging employment discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act and Rehabilitation Act. At issue on appeal was whether the Agency discriminated against Complainant based on his religion or in reprisal for a protect EEO activity when the Agency failed to grant Complainant’s request for a religious accommodation. The EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) held that Complainant had shown he had a bone fide religious belief that prevented him from carrying pepper spray, and that the Agency failed to show that Complainant not carrying pepper spray would have presented an undue hardship on the Agency as there was sufficient evidence to show that no matter where Complainant was stationed, other employees armed with pepper spray would be in the vicinity. In regards to reprisal, the OFO held that the several negative comments posted about Complainant online were insufficient to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Frances A. v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 2019004187 (Nov. 30, 2020)  https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/decisions/2021_01_25/2019004187.pdf