If you are being treated differently at work based on your religious beliefs or practices, you may be a victim of religious discrimination. In the United States, individuals are protected – by federal law – against this type of discrimination in the workplace.
It is common for victims of religious discrimination to also be discriminated against for other unlawful reasons, such as race or country of origin. A Muslim immigrant from Iraq, for example, may be discriminated against for his religion, but also due to his dark skin (race) and his Middle Eastern origins (culture).
Which Religions are Protected?
Religion encompasses religious beliefs, practice, and all aspects of observance. For the purpose of workplace discrimination, the religion in question doesn’t need to be traditional, such as Christianity or Judaism. In fact, the individual’s religion can be comprised of entirely unique beliefs, as long as they are meaningful and sincere. A MA employment law attorney can help you protect your rights if you’ve been discriminated against at work due to your religious beliefs.
In most cases, workplace discrimination based on religion falls into one or more of the following categories:
- Religious preference-based employment decisions
- Religious preference-based harassment
- Failure to provide reasonable accommodations for religious practices
Examples of Workplace Religious Discrimination
As with any type of discrimination, religious discrimination can take many forms. Common examples include:
- Hiring, firing or promoting an individual based on religious faith, or lack thereof. An example of this type of discrimination would be firing an employee because she is an Orthodox Jew and can’t work on Saturdays.
- Harassing an individual based on their religion. This can take the form of mocking an employee, or asking them to remove religious clothing because it violates the company dress code.
- Failure to provide necessary accommodations. This the most common type of religious discrimination in the workplace. An example of failure to accommodate occurs when an employee is refused his request to display a religious icon on his desk.
Cases of discrimination based on religion have skyrocketed in recent years. According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), religion-based claims increased by 41 percent between 1997 and 2015. A Boston workplace discrimination attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been discriminated against at based on your religion. Continue reading