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Examining the Laws Against Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Man with Kippah

Federal laws prohibit religious discrimination in the workplace against both employees and job applicants. These laws forbid an employer from considering a person’s religious beliefs when making decisions about hiring, promotions, wages, and other employment conditions. An employment law attorney in San Jose, CA can help you build a case against your employer if you think that you have been targeted because of your religion. Here is a closer look at what protections are put in place by the federal laws. employee - religion

Legal Definition of Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination laws restrict discrimination against anyone on the basis of his or her membership in a traditional, organized religion, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The law also extends protections to members of non-traditional religions who sincerely hold ethical and moral beliefs tied to those religious communities.

Employers cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of these beliefs, nor can they target employees for discrimination based on the religion of employees’ spouses or friends. If you are unsure if religious discrimination protects extend to you, consult with an employment law lawyer.

Types of Discrimination

Religious discrimination can take many forms. During the hiring process, an employer cannot refuse to hire someone solely on the basis of his or her religion. For current employees, employers cannot make decisions about employment conditions, including position, salary, shifts, promotions, or firings, based on religion. Finally, workers are protected from harassment in the workplace on the basis of their religions, including from offensive remarks. If you are experiencing this kind of discrimination at work, keep a record of the incidents to share with an employment law attorney.

Reasonable Accommodation Requirements

Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees to honor their religious beliefs. This can include flexible scheduling to allow an employee to take time off for a religious observation or proving space and time during a shift for prayer in accordance with religious practices. Employers must also make reasonable accommodations to allow employees to dress and groom themselves in ways that are in keeping with their beliefs, such as wearing a headscarf or yarmulke or avoiding certain types of clothing.