Religious Discrimination

Religious Discrimination

Los Angeles Lawyer for Employee Rights

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person on the basis of their religious affiliation. According to this body of law, "religion" encompasses all acts of religious practice and observance. Employers are required by law to accommodate their employees' religious observances unless it presents an undue hardship or if the religious observances would prevent an employee from performing his or her required job duties. If you are being discriminated against at the workplace, you may have a claim that a Los Angeles employment attorney at Martinian & Associates INC. can help you with.

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the law protects employees and those applying for employment against discrimination on the basis of both traditional, organized religion and those who have religious or ethical leanings. By law, employees and potential employees are also protected against religious discrimination based on the religion of his or her spouse, friend or relation. As with any type of discrimination listed in Title VII, religious discrimination is illegal when it influences decisions and behaviors at the workplace such as:

  • The decision to hire or not to hire someone
  • Firing someone or laying them off
  • Allocating salary and benefits
  • Assigning job duties
  • Overall treatment of the individual

What Is and What Isn't Religious Discrimination

To further clarify what religious discrimination is and what it is not, our Los Angeles employment lawyers have provided some common myths and their corresponding facts below.

Myth- A retail store employer has the right to assign an employee to a non-customer service position if they believe their customers will be offended by some aspect of their religious affiliation.

Fact- Assigning someone's job duties on the basis of religious affiliations is always against the law, whether or not there is a perceived fear about how the customers will react.

Myth- Offhand comments and teasing about someone's religion do not constitute religious discrimination or outright harassment.

Fact- Although in many cases offhand comments and light joking are not considered harassment or discrimination, in some cases they can be. Joking becomes harassment when it develops into a pattern or creates a hostile work environment.

Myth- Employees are required to participate in all work-related activities, regardless of their religious convictions or observances.

Fact- Employees can be exempt from certain work-related activities if those activities go against their religious beliefs. Employees should inform their employers of all activities that they cannot participate in because of their religion.

Employer's Duty to Accommodate Religious Employees

All employers are required to accommodate their employees' religious observances so long as it does not create an undue hardship. The most common example of an undue hardship would be a religious accommodation that would cost the employer financially more than they are able to afford. Another examples is an accommodation that would pose a safety threat to others at the workplace. In most cases, religious accommodations are minor and would not be a major burden to the employer. Some common examples include:

  • Your employer letting you change your shift due to a scheduling conflict with a religious meeting
  • Your employer providing you with a solitary place to say prayers (ex: call to prayer)
  • Your employer allowing you to wear a Yakama even though there is a no-hats policy
  • Your employer shifting your job duties so long as it doesn't create work for other employees that is more than their share.

Retaining a Los Angeles Employment Attorney

If you or someone you care about is being harassed or discriminated against by an employer, coworker, supervisor because of religious beliefs or affiliations, then you need representation from a Los Angeles employment law attorney at Martinian & Associates INC. Call us today and request your free case evaluation with an experienced lawyer.

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