Religious discrimination is hard to handle. Sometimes, it can be hard to recognize, too. It may be a subconscious habit of certain employers, coworkers or customers to discriminate based on your perceived or known religion. Fortunately, it’s against the law to act in that way.
Religious discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently only because of their religious beliefs or as a result of the beliefs of their spouse or other party they’re associated with. It is banned in a work environment. Employers are unable to discriminate based on religion when it comes to any part of the job, whether it’s assigning job duties, training, laying off employees, hiring, firing or other conditions of employment.
Did you know that it’s illegal to harass someone because of their religion?
If you are being harassed due to your religious beliefs, then those who are doing so are violating the law.
What constitutes religious discrimination and harassment?
Some examples of harassment include:
- Making fun of a person’s religion
- Mocking the individual due to their beliefs
- Offhand comments
- Isolated incidents
It is important to note that teasing, offhand comments and isolated incidents may not constitute harassment unless they lead to a work environment that is hostile or result in adverse employment decisions.
Interestingly, some employers used to think that separating employees with different religions from others would help. That’s illegal, too. Segregation based on your religion, such as assigning you to a role that is not customer-facing due to your religious beliefs, violates Title VII.
Does an employer have to accommodate your religion in the workplace?
Yes, within reason, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on your employer. For example, if you need to take off time for Ramadan, then it would be reasonable to ask for that accommodation during the holiday.
It is not always easy to tell if you’re being discriminated against due to your religion, since people don’t always come out and tell you. However, if you believe that discrimination is taking place, you should reach out to your human resources department or another professional in your work environment who has the power to help.
If you don’t get the help you need, then it is worth reporting the harassment and talking to your attorney about the steps you can take next. No one should have to suffer through religious discrimination in the workplace, since it’s a violation of the law.