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What is Religious Discrimination in the Workplace?

what is religious discrimination in the workplaceWorkplace religious discrimination occurs when an employee faces negative treatment such as the denial of promotions, or unfair job termination due to their religion. It also includes the inability to participate in one’s religious observances.

Unfortunately, some employers still exhibit religious intolerance in the workplace. And just as unfortunate, many employees who face this type of discrimination often don’t know how to identify or report it.

What should you know about religious discrimination in the workplace?

What Religious Discrimination Looks Like

Religious discrimination can take various forms in the workplace. It can occur during the recruitment and hiring process or after someone is employed.

Examples of religious discrimination include:

  • Denying employment opportunities to an applicant because of their religion
  • Failing to provide religious accommodation
  • Hostile work environment that is based on religious beliefs or practices

Other forms of religious discrimination can include harassment, which involves offensive or derogatory comments, or even imposing dress codes that prohibit the expression of an employee’s religious practice.

How to Identify Religious Discrimination

Like any other form of workplace discrimination, religious discrimination can be subtle or overt. In many cases, it may be hard to identify.

For instance, an employer may refuse to promote an employee because of their religion but say it is due to another reason. To identify religious discrimination, you need to examine the behavior targeted at you as an employee. Then you must determine whether it is based on your religion, religious practices, or beliefs.

What to Do If You Face Religious Discrimination

If you believe that you have been a victim of religious discrimination, the first step is to report it to your employer’s human resources department.

If your employer does not resolve the issue, report it to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the New York City Commission on Human Rights. You can also hire an attorney to guide you in filing a lawsuit against your employer.

Employer Religious Accommodation Laws

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) requires employers in the city to reasonably accommodate religious practices and beliefs unless they violate the employer’s business requirements.

Examples of accommodations may include giving an employee the day off to observe a religious holiday or allowing an employee to wear specific clothing as part of their religious practices. Employers who fail to provide these accommodations can face legal action.

Additionally, there are laws at the state and federal levels that also offer protection from religious discrimination in the workplace.

How to Protect Yourself from Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Religious discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and unethical, and can have severe negative impacts on employees. Employees who face religious discrimination often feel isolated and may be afraid to speak up.

Employers are responsible for protecting their employees’ rights and providing equal work opportunities. By knowing the signs of religious discrimination and taking necessary precautions, employees can take steps to safeguard their rights and ensure a safe work environment. If you think you have been a victim of religious discrimination, reach out to relevant authorities or seek legal guidance.

For more information about dress codes or to speak to someone about your rights in the workplace, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C.


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