The Right Choice for Your Success

Approval Date: Fall 2006
Approved By: President

Reasonable Accommodation of Students and Employees Religious Observance Policy

  1. Students
    Consistent with Illinois Public Act 84-212, an act to prohibit public school districts and institutions of higher education from discriminating against students for observing religious holidays (effective August 26, 1985), Western Illinois University subscribes to the following policy and procedures:
    1. Western Illinois University supports the concept of "Reasonable Accommodation of Religious Observances" in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and other academic work requirements.
    2. A student who is unable because of the observance of a religious holiday to attend classes on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day shall be excused from taking any examination or any study or other academic work assignments on such days or times.
    3. Faculty and administrative personnel may require up to 5 calendar days advance notice of absences to observe religious holidays.
    4. It is the responsibility of the faculty and administrative personnel to make available to such students an equivalent opportunity to make up the examinations, study, or other academic work requirements which they missed due to such absences.
    5. It is the responsibility of all students who also are employees of the University to make arrangements to fulfill their obligations to the University in advance of their absence, and/or to utilize accrued leave (if applicable) during the absence. (See section II)
    No fees or penalties may be imposed against the students who exercise such afforded opportunities. If a student believes she/he has been a victim of discrimination on grounds of religious observances, she/he may seek redress under the existing Discrimination Complaint Procedures.
  2. University Employees
    An amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act permits employees in state universities to take time off from work in order to observe religious practices. The law does not require the state universities to pay employees who take time off from work in order to practice religious beliefs. The law does require, if operational needs permit, that work hours lost without pay for religious reasons be deferred to work hours outside the regular work schedule.

    All employees who intend to take time off from work in order to practice religious beliefs must provide written notice to appropriate supervisors 5 days prior to the intended absence. Exempt employees (Faculty, Administrative/Professional, and Exempt Civil Service) may:
    • Charge the absence to accrued leave by the use of personal days if an accrued leave balance is available, or
    • Arrange with the appropriate supervisor to complete required work at another time, or
    • Request an unpaid leave of absence.
  3. Nonexempt Civil Service employees may:
    • Charge the absence to accrued leave if an accrued leave balance is available, or
    • Charge the absence to previously earned compensatory time, or
    • Request an unpaid leave of absence, and/or
    • Request that the work hours lost without pay be scheduled to be worked at another time, e.g., before or after the regular daily work schedule on the day the absence occurs. NOTE: Deferred work hours may be worked in the same work week as the absence and shall be compensated at the employee's regular rate of pay. Deferred work hours may also be worked in differing work week(s) as long as the employee does not exceed 40 hours worked during the make-up work week(s) and shall receive her/his regular compensation for the deferred work hours.

A student or employee who feels that he or she has been unreasonably denied an educational or employment benefit due to religious beliefs or practices should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.

Revised Fall 2006