Strong-arming employees into donating to causes they’re not wild about is delicate at best. At worst, it can cost an employer big bucks.

That’s what happened to a non-profit employer in Newark, NJ. This community organization required that employees donate to a school run by a Roman Catholic parish.

One employee asked to be excused from the requirement, which he said offended his religious conscience as a Muslim. In response, the employer fired him, the EEOC charged in a religious discrimination lawsuit on his behalf.

The employer ended up settling the suit for $25,000.

Best bet: If you encourage people to make charitable contributions, make sure everyone understands that giving is purely voluntary. And suggest a range of beneficiaries, rather than designating just one.

Cite: EEOC v. New Community Corp.

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