Aug. 22, 2013

Take religious holidays into account when planning

Alan Mittman
Mittman

Faculty and staff are reminded to take religious observances into account year-round when planning events, meetings, programs, meals and travel.

“Religious diversity is part of Cornell’s overall commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Alan L. Mittman, 
director of workforce policy and labor relations.

Cornell United Religious Work has posted a list of religious holidays for the 2013-14 academic year, along with such restrictions as fasting (with implications for event planning), limitations on working (absences from work should be reasonably accommodated) and other practices that can arise in the work or educational environment. Some of the more widely observed upcoming holidays and their potential workplace impacts include:

  • Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 5-6 – absence for religious observance)
  • Yom Kippur (sunset, Sept. 13-sunset, Sept. 14 – absence for religious observance and fasting sunset to sunset)
  • Diwali (Nov. 3 – family day)
  • Ash Wednesday (March 5 – absence/flex schedule for religious observance)
  • Passover (April 14 first night, April 15, second night – be mindful to provide matzoh as alternative to bread)
  • Good Friday (April 18 – absence for religious holiday and/or fasting)
  • Easter Sunday (April 20 – absence for religious observance).

Guidelines for handling requests for religious accommodations are available on the Human Resources website.

For guidance on providing equivalent opportunities to students who are absent from school because of their religious beliefs to make up any examination, study or work requirements, see the Cornell University Faculty Handbook (p. 88), and consult with the Dean of Faculty for questions or further clarifications.

For questions about workplace diversity issues concerning religious observances, contact Mittman at 255-6866 or alm63@cornell.edu.