What Are Allowable Religious Requirements for Hiring?

Last Updated on October 12, 2022 / Recruitment

HR Question:

When hiring for my religious-based organization is it legal for me to require candidates to be of the same religion?

HR Answer:

While religion is protected under Title VII, there is a Religious Organization Exemption that permits religious organizations to give employment preference to members of their own religion when hiring. This exemption only applies to organizations that can ‘define’ their religious association through articles of incorporation, religious day-to-day operations involving services, products, or education (such as a church or school), non-profit status, or an affiliation with or support from another religious organization.

This exemption does not allow religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, color, national origin, or disability – even when the religion has, as a tenet of its beliefs, an element of discrimination (such as not associating with people of other races).

If your organization has a “purpose and character that is primarily religious,” then you can prefer to hire individuals that meet your religious needs.

Recruitment isn’t just a matter of finding and hiring the right person. There are scores of regulations that must be adhered to or you risk stiff fines or penalties. Strategic HR specializes in helping companies recruit and retain a talented workforce while keeping an organization compliant. Visit our Recruitment page to learn how we can help you hire safely.