Title VII prohibits religious discrimination in the workplace by employers with 15 or more employees. State and/or city law may prohibit religious discrimination in the workplace by employers with fewer employees. That means that your employer may not discriminate against you because of your religious beliefs. The law also prohibits an employer from harassing you based on your religious beliefs, retaliating against you for complaining about religious discrimination, for participating in another employee’s religious discrimination case, or being associated with (i.e., married to) an individual of a particular religion.
Laws against workplace religious discrimination protect employees in three ways:
1. Your employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate your religious beliefs and practices in the workplace;
2. Your employer may not impose its religious views on you or permit your co-employees to impose their religious views on you; and
3. Your employer may not take adverse action against you because of your religious beliefs.
The Duty to Accommodate
If your religious beliefs require you to engage in certain practices or wear certain types of clothing while in the workplace, your employer may be required to make reasonable efforts to accommodate you. That might mean allowing you to wear a religious head covering or engage in prayers, as long as the practice does not place an undue burden on your employer. Typically this means your employer must accommodate you unless it would be prohibitively expensive for it to do so, or your religious practice would interfere with the operations of your employer’s business or present a safety hazard. For example, if you work with heavy machinery, your employer may prohibit you from wearing long or flowing robes if it can show that your clothing poses a real safety hazard.
Imposing Religious Views
Your employer or other employees may have strong religious views; however, the law prohibits them from imposing their religious views on you in the workplace. Although individuals must be allowed to practice their religion, they have no right to impose it on others. Thus, the law prohibits employer practices such as requiring you to attend prayer meetings.
Your employer may not take adverse, or negative, action against you simply because of your religious beliefs. Such action may include:
- Hiring another employee instead of you
- Firing you
- Laying you off instead of another employee
- Denying you a promotion because of your religious beliefs
- Making decisions about your compensation based on your religion or religious beliefs
In addition, your employer cannot:
- Retaliate against you for opposing employment practices that discriminate based upon religion;
- Retaliate against you for filing a religious discrimination claim; or
- Make negative remarks about your religious beliefs or practices.
Although, there are exceptions to these rules, you may be the victim of religious discrimination in Philadelphia if you experienced any of the situations described above.
Religious Discrimination in Philadelphia
If you are unsure as to whether you have been the victim of religious discrimination at work, you should review your situation with an experienced employment law attorney. The attorneys at The Ezold Law Firm, P.C., can provide guidance about your claim and advise you of your rights under the law. Contact us online or call our law offices at (610) 660-5585. We are committed to client satisfaction and obtaining outstanding results in the field of employment law.