Discrimination of Religion in the Workplace
Freedom from religious discrimination is one of the founding beliefs on which this country was founded. The ability to practice a religion without fear of retaliation and persecution is a right that is afforded to every American. The workplace both private and public is no exception to this basic human right. Regardless of this basic liberty’s age and acceptance as a basic human right by the majority of Americans, it is still infringed upon.
Many employees can suffer discrimination based on the religion or creed they practice. This employment discrimination is very much illegal as one can imagine. Protection from religious discrimination in terms of the workplace and employment is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which also protects a multitude of other groups subjected to discrimination. On top of the federal protections enacted by Title VII, Florida state law protects employees from religious discrimination with the Florida Civil Rights Act which protects employees of businesses of 15 or more employees.
Those that are discriminated against in the workplace have the right to take legal action against the liable parties responsible for damages. Religious discrimination can cause employees to lose better pay, assignments, promotions, and benefits. It can also lead to emotional trauma that can injure an employee’s mental condition. With an employment discrimination claim, an employee that suffered religious discrimination can sue for compensation and hold the discriminatory parties and even those whose negligence allowed such discrimination, accountable for their actions.
What Constitutes Religious Discrimination in the Workplace?
Religious discrimination can be defined as treating a person such as an employee or someone applying for a job unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. This extends not only to discrimination of widespread religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism but also to those who lack any religious belief at all or those who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs. Religious employment discrimination can also extend to someone on the basis of their partner’s beliefs.
Examples of Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
Employees can potentially be religiously discriminated against at their job by anyone. An employee with a high-level position can experience religious discrimination from someone below them and in certain cases from someone of the same religion or creed. This can happen when someone is being hired or even when they are leaving a position. Employment discrimination laws cover all these avenues of potential discrimination on the basis of religion.
- Any other terms of employment
Employment Discrimination Through Harassment
One of the most common forms of discrimination across the board is harassment. This kind of discrimination can take a wide variety of forms that all can cause severe emotional trauma to an employee. Something as small as a joke made at the expense of someone’s religious affiliation or something as major as direct remarks disparaging someone’s faith is considered harassment. Basically, any unwanted behavior that target’s a person based on their religious affiliation can be considered harassment and it is of course not only unethical conduct in the workplace but it can also be illegal.
Isolated instances of religious harassment like a single bad joke told by someone or an insensitive comment made at a meeting by an unaware colleague, are usually not good bases for a religious discrimination case. However, when the harassment based on someone’s religion is persistent or especially significant and nothing is done about it by the employer when they have been alerted to it, then that would be a good basis for a religious employment discrimination case. In that case, the persistent or especially significant harassment would foster what would be called a hostile work environment.
Reasonable Accommodation and Religious Discrimination
Employers are required by law to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious beliefs and practices. The only time they may not do so is if such an accommodation would cause an undue burden or strain on the employer’s business. This accommodation extends from something like time off for observed holidays to dress code. Common religious accommodations are flexible scheduling, specialized training, minor adjustments to a work environment, and job reassignments.
A common area where many of various religious affiliations may feel discriminated against is dress code. Many religions require certain aspects of dress or grooming to be observed as part of the faith. In some cases, these aspects of dress and grooming may come into conflict with a company’s established dress code. Employers are required to make concessions when it comes to this kind of conflict and allow those with religious reasoning to dress along the lines of their religion within reason.
Some examples of this can include the wearing of certain religious pieces of clothing such as Jewish yarmulke, Sikh turbans, or Muslim headscarves. Other times people may observe the wear of jewelry and in other cases, certain kinds of clothes may not be allowed as part of a person’s religion such as short skirts and shorts in To ban such articles of clothing from wear in the workplace almost always a violation of an employees religious rights. Only in very few cases where the need for specific safety gear and equipment as part of a job is the removal of certain pieces of religious clothing needed. Most of the time compromises can be made where both parties are satisfied.
Seek an Experienced Employment Discrimination Attorney
If you or a loved one have been discriminated against in the workplace based on your, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or national origin, then do not hesitate to Contact Dolman Law Group about receiving a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled lawyers will sit down with you to discuss the details of your case and offer options for legal action that you can take. The lawyers of Dolman Law Group have the expertise that you will need to secure the compensation you deserve.
Contact us at Dolman Law Group’s offices. Please call us at 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765