In our fantastically diverse world, understanding and accommodating various religious practices is essential for fostering inclusivity and respect within communities, workplaces, and society as a whole. One such practice deserving attention and accommodation is Ramadan, a sacred month observed by Muslims worldwide.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is observed by Muslims as one of the holiest months of the year. It is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community, aimed at intense spiritual growth and development. Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad and is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset.

Accommodating Ramadan demonstrates respect for the religious and cultural practices of Muslim employees, fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

Providing religious accommodations aligns with principles of religious freedom, ensuring that employees are not discriminated against or disadvantaged because of their religious beliefs and practices. Religious accommodations contribute to a positive workplace culture by promoting understanding, empathy, and teamwork among employees from diverse backgrounds. When accommodations are provided and respected, employees know that they have the necessary support and flexibility to fulfill their religious obligations while balancing work responsibilities.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that employers provide “reasonable accommodation” for an employee’s religious practices, unless doing so would cause “undue hardship.” Therefore, employers are legally required to make adjustments in the workplace so that employees can observe practices related to their faith.

Employers should be proactive in efforts to ensure that religious accommodations are provided, honored, and respected. Religious accommodations come in many different forms, and what constitutes a reasonable accommodation should be determined on a case-by-case basis. Requests for accommodation should not be summarily denied by employers.

For employees observing Ramadan, there are many possible accommodations available in the workplace. Employers may provide flexible working hours that allow Muslim employees to adjust their schedules to accommodate fasting and prayer times. Employers can also provide a designated space for Muslims to perform their prayers during work hours. Additionally, employers can be respectful when scheduling meetings or events to avoid conflicts with prayer and fasting.

Aside from providing accommodations, employers should take action to prevent harassment against employees based on their religious beliefs. Furthermore, where harassment was not prevented but occurred, employers have a duty to take swift remedial action when it becomes known. Under the law, employers cannot simply ignore unlawful harassment.

In a beautifully diverse world such as ours, religious accommodations for practices like Ramadan is not only necessary but contributes to a happy and safe working environment. By embracing diversity and accommodating religious practices, we promote inclusivity, respect, and understanding among individuals of different backgrounds. Ramadan serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and honoring religious diversity. If you feel you have faced discrimination or harassment based on your religion, we have attorneys available for consultation.

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Photo of Kalandra N. Wheeler Kalandra N. Wheeler

We asked Kalandra N. Wheeler, a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions.  After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Ms. Wheeler

We asked Kalandra N. Wheeler, a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions.  After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Ms. Wheeler brings.

1.Why did you start practicing labor and employment law?

I wanted to be able to help people that otherwise might not find help. Labor and employment laws affect most of society.  And – whether our results help one or many – our work and efforts as employment lawyers touch people in a real way in their every day lives.

2. Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?

Thurgood Marshall.

3. What do you think is the most important part of a good case?

The client. Good facts and evidence are definitely important. But good clients are a lawyers’ most valuable asset.  A good client: (1) is invested in their case; (2) works or worked hard for their employer; (3) can tell their story clearly and concisely; and (4) is someone that a jury will find sympathetic and relatable.

4. If you could write a new law, what would it do?

The Texas Workplace Anti-Bullying law.  I hear the stories, the ones told by employees looking for help. And in far too many of those stories the law offers no solution.  Every employee that goes to work and works hard to do the job they are hired to perform should be able to do so without abuse, harassment, and bullying. There is no justification for bullying, not in our schools, and not in our workplaces.

5. Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?

For a year before law school, I worked as a lube tech for Jiffy Lube.  I spent hot summer days, working on hot cars, changing oil or flushing transmissions or radiators.  I never had a customer come back with a complaint.

6. How do you market yourself differently than others?

I tell clients what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear. Before a client begins down any path toward resolving an employment dispute, they need thoughtful, honest advice. I am a believer in justice and everyday people deserve competent representation in an arena that is difficult for non-lawyers to navigate.

7. What do you do when you’re not practicing law?

I spend time with family and friends.  I read true crime books.  I sew and draw.

8. How would you describe the color yellow to someone who could not see?

It’s not the intense heat of the sun during the month of August, but instead the softness of the sun on your skin just as the seasons change from Summer to Fall.  It’s warm. And soft to the touch.  It’s fresh squeezed lemonade with a hint of sugar.  Slightly cool, inviting, and happy.

9. What’s your favorite legal TV show?

Law & Order: SVU

10. If you could argue any case in history, what would it be?

The Karen Silkwood case. But really, I think that would be more about arguing and trying a case alongside Gerry Spence for the learning experience.

Kalandra N. Wheeler is a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, P.C.  She graduated from The University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in political science.  Ms. Wheeler went on and received her law degree from The University of Arkansas.