If you were fired, not hired, not promoted, or discriminated against because of your religious beliefs then you may have a claim against that employer. Also if you were denied a job because the hiring person wanted to only hire someone of his or her own religion, you may have a claim. Also, your employer is sometimes required to accommodate your reasonable religious beliefs. For example, some employers may be required to allow you not to work on Saturday or a Sunday if that is part of your sincerely held religious beliefs. Each religious discrimination case must be evaluated by a competent employment lawyer to determine if the employer’s actions violate the law. Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs.
Religious discrimination can also involve treating someone differently because that person is married to (or associated with) an individual or a particular religion or because of his or her connection with a religious organization or group.
Common Forms of Religious Discrimination at Work
Unfortunately, even in this day and age, religious discrimination still occurs in the workplace. Here are some common forms of this type of discrimination:
- Lower Salary Because of Religion: In some workplaces, employees of certain religions may earn significantly less than their coworkers. For example, if you are practicing Muslim and have a lower salary than a coworker with a similar title and experience, your employer may be discriminating against you for your religion.
- Denial of Promotions: If you have been exceeding expectations at work and have the proper experience and skills for a higher position, you may expect to get promoted. However, if your employer denies you a promotion after seeing you pray in the workplace, you may be the victim of discrimination.
- Harassment: Nobody should have to face harassment at work simply due to their religious beliefs. However, it can still happen. If your boss or coworkers are making offensive comments about your religion or making fun of the dress code you have to follow, you’re the victim of religious discrimination.
- Not Allowing Time for Religious Observance: People of certain religions may have to pray during working hours. If an employer prohibits a worker from doing this, he or she is discriminating against that worker.
- Prohibiting Religious Clothing: Certain religions require people to wear specific clothing. For example, Muslim women may have to wear hijabs. If your employer has prohibited you from wearing religious clothing, you may be facing discrimination.
What to Do About Religious Discrimination
If you believe you’re being discriminated against at work because of your religion, you don’t have to stand for that kind of treatment. Here are the next steps you should take:
- Speak to Your HR Department: Whether you’re facing discrimination from your boss or other coworkers, you should bring it to your HR department’s attention. Describe the type of discrimination you’ve been experiencing and that you won’t continue to put up with the behavior.
- File a Complaint with the EEOC: If your company’s HR department hasn’t properly addressed the discrimination you’ve experienced, feel free to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They will review your case and give you permission to file a lawsuit.
- Speak to a Lawyer: If the EEOC has given you permission to file a lawsuit, you should consult an employment lawyer as soon as possible. He or she can help you file this lawsuit in a timely manner and protect your legal rights.