Our country was founded on the belief that anyone can worship whatever religion they chose without fear of persecution. However, people still harbor deep feelings when it comes to religious belief. Sometimes, those feelings can spill over in the workplace and when this happens, it’s discrimination and illegal. Like any other type of discrimination in the workplace, religious discrimination is illegal under federal law. If you are a victim of religious discrimination, you may need an employment lawyer, such as the ones at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, to help you with the situation.
What is Religious Discrimination?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, religious discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfavorably because of his/her religious beliefs. It doesn’t matter whether a person belongs to a traditional religion, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, or has a personal religious belief – all are treated equally.
In addition, it is illegal to harass someone because of their religion. For instance, if your employer has made offensive remarks regarding your religious practices, this is considered religious harassment. However, if it’s a matter of teasing or an offhand comment, this is not considered harassment. Only if the harassment creates a hostile work environment is it considered illegal.
Employees Rights for Religious Freedom
Employers are required by law to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices unless doing so would cause a burden on the business operations. For example, an employer must create a flexible schedule that would allow an Orthodox Jew to observe his/her religion’s holy days.
Employees cannot be subject to segregation based on religion. For instance, an employee is assigned to a non-customer contact position because of he/she is Muslim and the employer fears the employee will turn away customers. This is considered a form of religious discrimination.
In addition, unless it’s a hardship on the business, the employer must accommodate an employee’s religious practices when it comes to dress and grooming, such as wearing a particular head covering, wearing a certain hairstyle or facial hair, and a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments, such as pants.
Contact a Religious Discrimination Lawyer for More Information
If you believe that you are the subject of religious discrimination, it’s best to speak with an experienced employment lawyer to know what your next steps should be. Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, has been assisting employees with their claims since 2004. Contact us now for an evaluation of your case.