Religious freedom is one of the greatest liberties in American society. Thanks to the First Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans may practice their religious belief (or non-belief) without fear of religious discrimination in the workplace.
Consequently, if you think you are experiencing religious discrimination, you should contact a federal employment attorney right away.
What Is Religious Discrimination?
Most Americans understand that religious discrimination is prohibited by law. Not as many understand religious discrimination’s exact definition as it applies to the federal workplace.
Put simply, religious discrimination is any negative treatment of an employee or applicant because of that employee’s religion.
The prohibition against religious discrimination is very broad. In fact, religious discrimination law protects not only adherents of major global religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
It also shields those who follow little-known faiths and all those who have any kind of sincerely held religious or moral beliefs. This means that atheists and agnostics are also protected against religious discrimination in the workplace.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids religious discrimination in any and all aspects of employment. This includes things like hiring, firing, compensation, promotions, training, work schedule, and job assignments.
The definition of religious discrimination includes harassment as well. Religious harassment refers to several different offensive behaviors aimed at someone because of their religion, including:
- Offensive comments or jokes,
- Verbal threats, and
- Physical assaults.
However, any demeaning behavior that creates an objectively hostile or offensive work environment constitutes harassment.
On the other hand, simple teasing and isolated incidents do not usually constitute illegal harassment. Unfortunately, there are situations where it can be difficult to tell if you are experiencing harassment.
A knowledgeable federal employment attorney can help you make sense of your situation and move forward.
Examples of Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
Religious discrimination is distressingly common. According to a 2019 Pew Research study, over 80% of Americans believe that members of at least one religion experience religious discrimination.
Specifically, 82% of Americans said that Muslims experienced at least some religious discrimination, and 50% believed that Evangelical Christians were the target of at least some religious discrimination.
Yet what does religious discrimination actually look like? Here are a few examples of religious discrimination and harassment in the workplace:
- Not being selected for a position because your supervisor doesn’t like your religion;
- Being forced to work on a day prohibited by your religion;
- Facing punishment because your supervisor refuses to allow you to pray at certain times during the workday;
- Being turned down for a promotion because the other applicant goes to the same church as the selecting official;
- Hearing from co-workers or supervisors that you’re a “bigot,” “terrorist,” or “kook” because of your religious beliefs.
These are just a few examples. A qualified federal labor law attorney can help you understand if your situation constitutes religious discrimination or harassment.
Looking to Learn More About Religious Discrimination in the Workplace?
Religious discrimination is no joke. It can cause isolation, depression, and burnout. It can be easy to feel defeated when you’re subjected to religious discrimination every day. But there’s good news. You have rights.
At the Federal Employment Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, our passion is helping federal employees stand up for their rights.
We believe that no employee should have to deal with religious discrimination. Unlike many other firms, we focus exclusively on helping federal employees, which means we know what we’re doing.
Together, we can help you fight back against the discriminatory actors in your work environment. We can also help you receive just compensation for the losses you’ve experienced because of religious discrimination.
People are often reluctant to hire an attorney because they are anxious about money. We understand that, and we don’t want money to keep you from reaching out to us.