Religious discrimination is treating individuals differently in their employment because of their religion, their religious beliefs, and practices, and/or their request for accommodation (a change in a workplace rule or policy) of their religious beliefs and practices. It also includes treating individuals differently in their employment because of their lack of religious belief or practice. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional organized religions such as the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or other faiths, but all people who have sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs. If you have been rejected for employment, fired, harassed or otherwise harmed in your employment because of your religion, your religious beliefs, and practices, and/or your request for accommodation of your religious beliefs and practices, you may have suffered unlawful religious discrimination.
Some workers experiencing religious discrimination may also experience other forms of illegal discrimination, such as national origin discrimination, immigration/citizenship status discrimination, and/or race discrimination. There are typically three main forms of religious discrimination in the workplace: (1) employment decisions based on religious preference (2) harassment based on religious preferences and; (3) failing to reasonably accommodate religious practices. Some examples of potentially unlawful religious discrimination are:
- Hiring/firing/promotion: This type of discrimination entails making employment decisions based upon someone’s faith, or lack thereof.
- Harassment: Harassing individuals due to their religion can include making fun of employees or telling them they are violating the company’s dress code because they wear religious clothing or even mocking a person because of his or her strong beliefs.
- Failure to accommodate: Denial of religious accommodation is the most common form of workplace religious discrimination.