Under Title VII, employers are required to accommodate employees’ religious practices unless to do so would pose an undue hardship. An employer can establish the affirmative defense of undue hardship by showing the requested accommodation would cause more than a de minimis, or minimal, burden. Thus, the threshold for proving the undue hardship defense in the context of religious accommodation is much lower than in the context of accommodating a disabled employee under the ADA, where the employer must prove the accommodation would result in “significant” difficulty or expense. This hasn’t stopped the EEOC from aggressively pursuing pattern or practice litigation in an attempt to expand the law and force employers in some industries to provide onerous prayer accommodations to Muslim employees. Many Muslims believe they must recite prayers five times each day at certain required times. In EEOC v. JBS USA, LLC, 8:10-CV-318 (D. Neb. Oct. 11, 2013), Chief Judge Laurie Smith Camp resoundingly rejected the EEOC’s tactics when she dismissed its pattern or practice lawsuit seeking prayer accommodations for hundreds of Somali Muslim employees at a beef processing facility. Judge Camp found that employer JBS established the affirmative defense of undue hardship by showing that “a religious accommodation for Muslim employees, within the parameters requested [by the EEOC], would have caused more than a de minimis burden on JBS and on its non-Muslim employees.” Id. at 40. For more detail on the EEOC’s claims and Judge Camp’s decision, see the second part of this post.