Fighting against Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

All over the world, religious intolerance is one of the leading causes of conflict and misunderstanding. Because of the religious intolerance of the employer, the company, the manager, or even the workers themselves, religious discrimination exists in the workplace.

But of course, any applicant or employee unfavorable treated because he or she is belongs to an organized religion such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, or discriminated against because of sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs has a right of recourse under the law.

Take for example, a recent religious discrimination case triumphantly settled by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Act in behalf of a fired employee. A North Carolina based educational testing company, Measurement Incorporated was sued by the agency after it fired Jacqueline Dukes when she refused to work on Sabbath. Dukes refused to work because Children of Yisreal, a Christian denomination she belonged to, prohibits its members from working on Sabbath from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday.

According to Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District, employers are required by law to explore reasonable accommodations to solve similar situations. Barnes said, “No person should be forced to choose between her religion and her job when the company can provide an accommodation without suffering an undue hardship.”

The company will be made to pay $110,000 in back pay and compensatory damages. Further, an injunctive relief enjoining Measurement Incorporated from engaging in further religious discrimination and requiring anti-discrimination training was also ordered. The company will be required to post a notice about the EEOC and its lawsuit against the company and will have to regularly report its handling of religious accommodation requests.

The law containing provisions that make religious discrimination in employment illegal can be found under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and applicants because of their religion. Religious discrimination is unlawful in any aspect of employment or employment decisions made such as hiring, firing, pay and benefits, promotions, as well as any other terms or conditions of employment. It is likewise required by this federal law that employers reasonably accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer.

Offensive actions and remarks about a person’s religious beliefs or practices that is severe or pervasive, whether frequently committed by an employer, manager, co-worker, or even a client or customer is also illegal as it creates a hostile of offensive work environment.

All employers with 15 or more employees are covered by the Civil Rights Act and aggrieved employees have 180 days to file a complaint for religious discrimination. For more questions on religious discrimination and harassment cases, a discrimination attorney in California would be the best person to consult.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mesriani Law Group
Mesriani Law Group is an LA-based law firm that specializes in personal injury, employment and labor, social security and disability, and business and corporate cases. Under the helm of its founder, Rodney Mesriani the firm has been successfully representing clients for more than 15 years now.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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