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What is Religious Discrimination?

Los Angeles Religious Discrimination Lawyer Explains Religion And Employment Rights

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines religious discrimination as harmful action “against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other…conditions of employment.” Like other forms of employment discrimination, religious discrimination is both harmful and unlawful. If you have been affected by religious discrimination, then you may benefit by gaining help and legal counsel from a Los Angeles religious discrimination lawyer near you. You have rights to a discrimination-free workplace under both California and federal law. Our law firm offers a free consultation to discuss.

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What are the Laws Regarding Religious Discrimination?

Federal employment law protects all religions and beliefs. Specifically, religious discrimination 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.”

Employment discrimination laws also protect belief systems like atheism, pacifism, agnosticism and polytheism. All employees are protected from discrimination by supervisors, management, other employees and contractors. Additionally, a company cannot practice religious discrimination in hiring against an applicant or interviewee because of his/her religious identity.

What Are the Signs of Discrimination at Work?

Examples of Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

As with all forms of employment discrimination, religious discrimination can take place in both overt and subtle ways. These can include:

  • Offensive jokes and slurs
  • Denial of union membership
  • Forcing an employee to participate in a religious activity
  • Punishing an employee for not participating in a religious activity
  • Scheduling important or job-sensitive meetings during prayer times or religious observances

Does My Boss Have to Accommodate My Religious Practices?

The EEOC also stipulates that employers must “reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee.” In particular, an employer must reasonably accommodate an employee’s dress and grooming requirements. It is unlawful to prohibit the wearing of garments such as yarmulkes or headscarves, so long as they do not interfere with the employee’s ability to do their duties. Employers must also make arrangements if an employee needs time off for religious observances.

In California, in addition to the federal law protections, you have the ability to pursue legal action against an employer under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Our discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles can help you determine if your employer ran afoul of these laws.

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