Religion

Most employers may not harass or discriminate against employees because of their religion, or retaliate against employees who complain about religious discrimination or harassment. The law also requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs, observances, and practices, and prohibits retaliation against employees who request such accommodations. The law similarly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees because they are atheists or otherwise do not practice religion.

Most employers may not treat employees differently in making employment decisions such as hiring, termination, promotion, training, or compensation because of their religion. For example, covered employers may not refuse to hire or promote an employee because he observes a Saturday Sabbath, or conversely, because he does not regularly attend religious services. Workplace harassment based on religion, such as taunting employees who wear turbans or headscarves, mocking employees’ religious dietary restrictions, or persistently attempting to convert co-workers to another religion, is similarly prohibited. Covered employers must also reasonably accommodate religious employees’ religious practices where doing so does not impose an undue hardship on the company. Reasonable accommodations may include permitting employees to voluntarily switch shifts so a religious employee can observe a religious holiday, allowing an employee to wear a yarmulke, or proving a convenient place for an employee to pray.

Religious discrimination frequently coexists with other forms of illegal discrimination and harassment, including national origin discrimination and race discrimination, as religion is often closely tied to one’s race and national origin. For example, where a supervisor refuses to hire Hispanic job applicants because he believes they are all Catholics, she may be engaging in race, national origin, and religious discrimination.

If you believe you may have been discriminated against, harassed, or terminated because of your religion, or your employer is retaliating against you for requesting an accommodation for your religious beliefs, observances, or practices, you need employment law specialists on your side. Sarnoff + Sarnoff is committed to advancing employee rights and bringing to justice any employer that engages in, encourages, or fails to prevent discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace. Give us a call at (415) 788-0888, email us at info@sarnofflaw.com, or complete our online contact form to find out whether your rights have been violated and if we can help.

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