Does a contract employee (independent contractor) have the same rights as a regular employee under the EEOC Title VII to reasonable religious accommodation (without undue hardship)? What if the contract employee works with an organization that is faith-based? If the employee does not share the religious affiliation of the faith-based organization, should anything be included in the employment contract to address boundaries regarding job responsibilities (i.e. clarifying the independent contractor's role in a prayer meeting)? The contract is up for renewal and the independent contractor would like exemption from prayer meetings to be part of the contract, if it does not cause undue hardship, per title VII. Is this necessary or does the contractor already have these rights under title VII?
1 Answer from Attorneys
No, independent contractors are exempt from Title VII. However, if the organization exerts enough control over the contract employee to require him/her to attend these religious functions, then courts may classify him/her as an employee.
And, yes, the independent contractor should definitely include language that clarifies his/her role in any religious services.