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Philadelphia Discrimination Lawyer Discusses Religious Discrimination Workplace Study

October 28th, 2013

According to a new study conducted by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, American workers regularly face widespread religious discrimination on the job.  The non-profit organization strives to educate employers about religious tolerance and acceptance in the workplace. The survey titled “What American Workers Really Think About Religion: Tanenbaum’s 2013 Survey of American Workers and Religion,” uncovered that a significant portion of the American workforce feel that their religious beliefs and practices are not protected at work.  According to the survey of 2,000 American employees, thirty-six percent of U.S. workers believe they have been discriminated against because of their religion.

Religious Discrimination Survey Results

The survey revealed that in addition to those workers in minority religious faith groups, a substantial number of Christian employees, the nations’ most practiced and well-known religion, also feel the effects of religious intolerance in the workplace.  Fifty-nine percent of Christian, white evangelical Protestants report that they suffer religious discrimination at work.  The discrimination is comparable as that experienced by members of other religious faiths.

The group of American workers reporting the most religious discrimination on the job is actually a faction of non-religious employees.  Fifty-five percent of Atheist employees report religious workplace discrimination.  Other religious groups that continue to face religious discrimination at work include Muslims, while homosexuals and women suffer other types of workplace discrimination.

Workers’ reported that companies do not support their religious views or practices because there is no education on religious diversity in the workplace.  Less than fifteen percent of respondents reported that their employer had a current religious diversity program in place.  Moreover, only forty-two percent of employees reported that their employers had a published religious anti-discrimination policy.

Employers Fail to Accommodate Religion at Work

Another noteworthy finding of the study is that less than half of employers allow employees to work “flex time” to observe religious holidays or engage in prayer practices.  It was reported that approximately 80 percent of employers do not have an option for employees to trade holidays with another employee in order to observe a religious holiday of their choice.  Another frequent way that employers fail to support their employees religious practices are by requiring them to work on the Sabbath.

Thirteen percent of employer-sponsored events that employees are required to attend do not offer meal options for employees with dietary restrictions due to their religion (i.e., kosher or vegetarian dishes.)  Another accommodation an employer may have to take into consideration is the religious attire some employees may request to wear to work.  Employees are generally permitted to wear religious attire in the workplace, although that is not always the case.  (Read our previous blog on an employer’s failure to permit religious attire in the workplace.)

One thing that is undeniably clear as a result of Tanenbaum’s survey is that religion matters to American workers.  Employers must be ready to incorporate their employees’ religious beliefs and practices into their company programs and policies.  It is an employer’s responsibility to encourage a workplace that is free from religious discrimination and promote religious tolerance and acceptance of all.

Philadelphia Discrimination Attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Fight for Victims of Religious Discrimination at Work

The Philadelphia religious discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates believe that the religious beliefs and practices of all employees should be protected and accommodated in the workplace.  Our employment lawyers have experience defending victims of religious discrimination in the workplace.  Our law offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Call us today at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation or contact us online.

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