A Look at Religion in the Workplace

Religion in Workplace (thumbnail)

Employment law not only protects workers from religious discrimination, but also requires employers to make certain accommodations for their staff members’ religious needs. Because this law can be complex, it is helpful to consult with an employment law attorney in San Jose, CA , when you have questions about your responsibilities as an employer or if you are concerned that your own rights are being violated.

Watch this video for insight on what employment law says about religion in the workplace. Religion is defined broadly by law, so employers are required to recognize religions that they may not be familiar with or that are new or small. Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to let employees practice their religious traditions, as long as it does not cause a hardship for the business. An employment lawyer can help you understand how these concepts might apply to your situation.

What Should You Do if You See Discrimination at Work?

People at Desk

There is typically a clear path for reporting workplace discrimination if it happens to you, but what happens if you witness someone else being victimized? It can helpful to speak to an employment law attorney as you decide what steps to take. An employment lawyer in San Jose, CA , can help you determine if what you witnessed qualifies as discrimination under the law and protect your rights if you experience any retaliation if you choose to speak up. Here are some of your options if you believe you have seen discrimination at work. employment - lawyer

Speak to a Supervisor

If you witness discrimination happening, your first option is to discuss the incident with a supervisor. The supervisor may be willing to intervene and take any necessary action to prevent it from happening again in the future. If the incident involved your supervisor, then you may choose to go to someone higher up in the organization instead. If you decide to speak to someone about the discrimination, document your conversation and consider making your complaint in writing, such as via email. If you eventually need to seek the help of an employment lawyer, this documentation can be helpful in establishing the process you went through.

Speak to Human Resources

The human resources, or HR, departments at most companies are in charge of initially handling cases such as these, so alerting them to what you have seen could trigger an investigation. You should also document this interaction in case you need to refer to it later or provide information about it to your employment lawyer.

Be Alert to Retaliation Actions

When you speak up against discrimination at work, you become a whistleblower, and you have very specific protections under the law. You may not be denied benefits, passed over for promotions, threatened, disciplined, or terminated. Your employer may also not demote you or reduce your hours or pay. If these incidents occur when you speak up, document them and contact an employment lawyer who can help you fight for your rights.

Choosing Mediation for Your Case

mediation

When you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, such as wrongful termination, or if you are being accused of violating employment law, when should you consider mediation instead of court? Mediation can be a preferable alternative to both sides in many cases, so consider discussing your situation with a mediation attorney in San Jose to see if it could work for you.

Legal mediation has many advantages over court for a number of different types of cases. It focuses on finding an agreement that is acceptable for both sides, rather than finding a winner, so it is less stressful for most people. It reduces costs since a legal mediator works outside of the courts, so there are no associated trial costs. Legal mediation can also help both sides reach a solution much faster than a court date. Entering mediation does not preclude you for pursing litigation if an agreement is not reached. Your attorney can help you decide if mediation could be a solution for your case.

mediation - meeting

Steps Businesses Can Take to Comply with Employment Laws

Employee Contract

Employment law is complex and constantly evolving, which can lead employers to violate regulations unintentionally. To protect their businesses and their employees’ rights, it is critical for employers to know the codes and to seek employment law advice when they need it from a labor attorney in San Jose, CA . These steps can also help you keep your company in compliance with labor laws. employment - laws

Periodically Update Your Employee Handbook

As laws shift, the information in your employee handbook can become out-of-date, or even illegal. Reviewing your handbook at specific intervals with a labor attorney to ensure that you are in full compliance with all federal and state regulations helps businesses avoid costly errors. Generally, handbooks should be reviewed at least once per year as well as any time a major change in employment law on the state or federal level occurs. Ensure that your handbook and all subsequent updates are written simply so that it is easy for employees to understand.

Establish an Anti-Harassment Policy

All companies can benefit from having a clear anti-harassment policy that sets out the obligations that all employees have to keep discrimination out of the workplace. The policy should state that harassment is illegal and clearly describe what activities are prohibited and how the complaint process works. The policy should also offer employees multiple avenues for filing a complaint and clearly state that retaliation for truthful complaints or for providing information during an investigation of a harassment claim will not be tolerated.

Train Your Supervisors

When a business’s leadership receives employment law advice, they must pass this knowledge on to the managers and supervisors for it to be effective. Problems with employment law often begin on lower levels of the operation, when shift supervisors or managers are unaware of regulations regarding things like breaks and scheduling or when they engage in harassment. Careful training and continuing education helps to prevent incidences involving employment law violating from originating with uninformed members of your management team.