Understand Reasonable Accommodation and Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Understand Reasonable Accommodation and Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Federal law provides few protections for workers. However, a candidate cannot be excluded from consideration for a job nor can an employee be discriminated against in their job for religious reasons. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects you as a job application or a current employee to be free of religious discrimination during the hiring process or during your employment. 

Not only does this law promise you that you will not be discriminated against for your religion, it also provides for reasonable accommodation that your employer must take. Because of this, religious discrimination and reasonable accommodation claims often go hand in hand. If you think you may have been discriminated against because of your religion, you need to speak with an experienced Sacramento employment law attorney today who can help you right this wrong.

Religious Discrimination

Unfortunately for many people, religious discrimination in the workplace happens often and goes unreported. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) manages religious discrimination complaints. The EEOC fields over 3000 complaints each year. 

Religious discrimination can take many forms. The most common examples include:

  • Refusing to hire an applicant because of their religion
  • Terminating an employee because of their religion
  • Paying an employee less because of their religion
  • Refusing to promote an employee because of their religion

Religious discrimination may come to light at any point during the hiring process or during your employment with a company. If you have been denied employment or a promotion because of your religion, you may have a claim against the company for religious discrimination. To find out for sure, you need to speak with a skilled employment lawyer in Sacramento today who can help you understand and protect your rights.

Reasonable Accommodation

Religious discrimination is pretty clear cut. Reasonable accommodation, however, is less transparent. Based on an employee’s legitimate religious beliefs, an employer must make reasonable accommodation to protect your right to practice your religion. Many religions require certain practices, dress, or grooming.

Employers often violate employee’s rights and fail to make reasonable accommodation by:

  • Requiring employees to work on religious holidays
  • Not allowing prayer breaks
  • Banning certain head wear
  • Prohibiting facial hair or hairstyles
  • Not allowing schedule changes or time off for religious holidays

When a business fails to take certain steps to reasonably accommodate employees with religious beliefs, the business may violate Title VII. This could give rise to your religious beliefs being discriminated against, leaving you feeling harassed and embarrassed by your employer. 

You do not have to stand for this. You have a protected right to practice your religion and your employer must make reasonable accommodation for you to do so. When they do not, you need to partner with a trusted employment lawyer who can help you right this wrong.

Cause of Action

When you have suffered religious discrimination in the workplace, you may file a discrimination claim against the company. To be successful in your cause of action, you must show:

  • You have a bona fide religious belief that conflicts with an employment requirement
  • You have told your employer about your belief
  • You suffered adverse employment action as a result

Part of your cause of action must show that the employer did not provide reasonable accommodation. This is where things can get murky. When you alert your employer to your religious belief and how it conflicts with a job requirement, you may also suggest how your employer can accommodate you. 

Your employer does not have to provide you with the exact accommodation you have requested. But the accommodation they offer must be reasonable and not provide undue hardship to the employer. 

Not every employer is covered under Title VII. Employers with more than 15 employees, including private companies, are subject to Title VII. If your employer has fewer than 15 employees, you may still have a valid claim if you can show your employer was acting with a parent company or subsidiary that would have put them over the minimum employee requirement. The best way to know for sure is to speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer as soon as you have suffered religious discrimination in the workplace.

Possible Remedies

With many legal claims, the remedies are clear. In a car accident, you want to have your medical bills covered. But religious discrimination claims may create some confusion. 

Your employment lawyer may attempt to remedy your situation by asking for:

  • Getting your job back, if you lost it
  • Compelling the company to hire you or promote you
  • Back pay
  • Retroactive benefits
  • Monetary damages for your suffering and embarrassment 

As with all legal claims, your case is unique and your remedies will be unique. Working with your employment lawyer, you can determine what you want out of your cause of action against the company who discriminated against you. It’s important to remember that you do not have to go through this alone.

Religious Discrimination Lawyers Fight for You

The lawyer you choose can make a difference in the outcome of your religious discrimination claim. You need a lawyer who has proven experience fighting for religious discrimination victims like you. Companies too frequently get away with this type of behavior. We can help you hold your employer liable for your suffering.

A company can ask you about the sincerity of your religious beliefs when you ask for reasonable accommodation. These questions may seem intrusive but your employer has a right to determine your sincerity. Asking other questions or getting too personal may cross the line. If you have been denied a promotion, terminated, or turned down for employment because of your religious beliefs, you may be entitled to legal remedies through a discrimination claim against the company. 

If you think you may have been discriminated against by your employer, speak with an experienced employment law attorney in Sacramento today. Contact us online or at 916-446-2000. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you resolve your workplace discrimination matter.