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Is religious discrimination at my job legal?

| Feb 5, 2021 | Workplace Discrimination |

Federal law protects workers from discrimination based upon their religion. Employers may not treat someone negatively because they practice Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism or numerous other creeds. Persons with genuine ethical or moral beliefs also should not experience discrimination at work.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains how the law prohibits several kinds of religious discrimination in employment. Hiring or firing a person due to their religion is forbidden. A person’s beliefs must not affect any work situation, including training, assignments, layoffs, promotions and compensation.

Harassment based upon religion also is against the law. If offensive comments about someone’s faith create a hostile workplace, it is illegal harassment. Anyone could commit workplace harassment against an employee, from supervisors to customers.

Besides trying to prevent adverse treatment, the law requires employers to accommodate the religious practices of workers. Flexibility with schedules and dress codes are examples of required accommodations. An employer may refuse an accommodation only under certain circumstances, such as excessive cost or safety concerns.

Violations still happen

Despite the law’s safeguards, employee mistreatment because of religion still occurs. A worker subjected to religious discrimination may be able bring a federal claim to recover damages. Before filing a lawsuit, the person discriminated against must file a complaint with the EEOC.

After receiving a complaint, the EEOC will conduct an investigation. If the EEOC determines that religious discrimination may have happened, the person making the complaint might receive a Notice of Right to Sue. The person then may start a federal lawsuit.

Seeking justice for religious discrimination at work is a challenge. Workers in the Oakland area who believe they have suffered mistreatment for their beliefs could utilize qualified legal representation to counsel them through the process.

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