Religious discrimination can happen in the workplace in a variety of different ways, but there are state and federal laws that make it illegal. Offhand remarks, when they are constant and pervasive, can make a work environment hostile. Religious discrimination can also manifest itself as an adverse work action such as less-desirable work assignments or a demotion. It also happens when an employer refuses to allow a reasonable religious accommodation. An employer cannot reject an applicant for employment based on their religion. Federal employment discrimination law protects people who belong to commonly recognized religions.
Characterizing Religious Discrimination
Adverse employment actions and prohibiting certain religious practices can be easier to detect, but certain forms of religious discrimination are more latent and harder to identify.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal agency that has jurisdiction over federal employment discrimination laws, states that “the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious.” On its website, the EEOC says harassment “is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.” The discrimination may be directed at an employee because of religion or because they are associated with another person of a particular religion.
So what does that mean? If you are a practicing member of a recognized religion and your supervisor knowingly tries to tempt you with food while you are fasting for a religious holiday one time, that may not rise to the level of discrimination. Yet, if your supervisor does this every time you fast and regularly makes other comments or jokes about your religion which you find offensive, it could constitute as workplace religious discrimination.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Religious Discrimination
Religious discrimination in the workplace is never acceptable and employees can seek legal assistance at any time. If you feel that you have been a victim of discrimination because of your religion, gender, or ethnicity, call the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. Our experienced employment attorneys will review your case and help you determine your options and the best next steps.