Religious Discrimination, Accommodation or Harassment

– Peter Anthony Motteux
“E pluribus unum”
Muslim woman

What is Religious Discrimination, Accommodation or Harassment?

“E pluribus unum” is the motto of our nation and it appears on the Great Seal. It’s a Latin term meaning “out of many, one.”   We are a nation of all races, creed and religion, and every person is born with the natural right to be treated equally.

State and federal law prohibits discrimination in  any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

It is also illegal to harass a person because of his or her religion. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person’s religious beliefs or practices. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

The law also prohibits workplace or job segregation based on religion (including religious garb and grooming practices), such as assigning an employee to a non-customer contact position because of actual or feared customer preference.

The law requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer’s business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion. Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.

Unless it would be an undue hardship on the employer’s operation of its business, an employer must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices. This applies not only to schedule changes or leave for religious observances, but also to such things as dress or grooming practices that an employee has for religious reasons. These might include, for example, wearing particular head coverings or other religious dress (such as a Jewish yarmulke or a Muslim headscarf), or wearing certain hairstyles or facial hair (such as Rastafarian dreadlocks or Sikh uncut hair and beard). It also includes an employee’s observance of a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments (such as pants or miniskirts).

When an employee or applicant needs a dress or grooming accommodation for religious reasons, he should notify the employer that he needs such an accommodation for religious reasons. If the employer reasonably needs more information, the employer and the employee should engage in an interactive process to discuss the request. If it would not pose an undue hardship, the employer must grant the accommodation.

The EEOC provides guideline for employers to comply with the law.

If you are looking for a qualified religious discrimination, accommodation or harassment attorney to work on your claim, please review the case types below.

Case Type

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Religious Harassment

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Religious Accommodation

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Religious Discrimination

Do You Have a Claim?

Kindly contact us at 201-222-0123 or complete our inquiry form if you believe you are a victim of employment discrimination related to religious discrimination, accommodation or harassment, or other statutory state or constitutional law violations.