How to Prove Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

By: Gregg Zeff
On: September 29, 2023

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Religious discrimination in the workplace takes many forms and includes an employee being treated unfairly due to their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. Our country’s laws work to ensure that all religious groups and beliefs are respected through Title VII. This law specifically protects employees from adverse treatment in the workplace that targets their religion. However, religious discrimination still occurs and it’s important to be equipped with tools needed to identify this situation. Zeff Law Firm offers guidance that will help prove religious discrimination in the workplace.

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What’s Religious Discrimination In The Workplace?

Religious discrimination in the workplace involves an employee, or job candidate, being treated unfairly because of their religious beliefs. An employee can experience two types of religious discrimination: being treated differently because of their religious beliefs, or an employer failing to make appropriate accommodations for the employee’s religious beliefs.

Just like any other discrimination case, you have a right to sue your employer for religious discrimination, including anything from experiencing derogatory religious slurs, or receiving disproportionate benefits. However, suing an employer for religious discrimination is most effective if you can provide proof and have witnesses.

What Are Some Examples Of Religious Discrimination In The Workplace?

When they occur, it’s best to keep the details of religious discrimination top of mind so that you can collect evidence and present it to your attorney. Examples of religious discrimination include:

  • An employer failing to make reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs, such as banning religious attire or symbols, refusing to allow time off, alternating work schedules, etc.
  • Experiencing hostile or derogatory speech or behavior because of your religion
  • A candidate being rejected or an employee being fired because of their religion
  • Getting paid less because of your religion
  • Exclusion from a company’s training, events, or meetings because of your religion
  • Denial of a promotion because of religious beliefs
  • Denial of benefits because of your religion
  • Required participation in religious activities, such as prayers, at work

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Is It Difficult To Prove Religious Discrimination In The Workplace?

You must have evidence that proves you’ve been exposed to disparaging treatment because of your religion to win a religious discrimination lawsuit. This can be demonstrated when there’s direct evidence of religious prejudice; if an employer has flatly admitted religious bias or if you have witnesses present when experiencing verbal religious discrimination, for instance. However, being able to prove direct evidence is rare, so you may have to develop a case based on circumstantial evidence. It is always best to consult with experienced attorneys such as Zeff Law Firm to determine if you have enough evidence.

Evidence Of Different Treatment

Examples of being treated unfavorably due to your religion include any unfair employment actions. This covers anything from being rejected for hire, or not being provided with training, denied promotions, unfair disciplining, denied equal compensation and benefits, and being fired. Experiencing this type of religious discrimination may also include being harassed. Harassment in the workplace can involve being subjected to abrupt comments about religious clothing, remarks about your beliefs or lack of beliefs, or attempts to convert in the workplace.

Evidence Of Failure To Accommodate Religious Differences

In effort to avoid religious discrimination, employers are expected to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious beliefs and cannot force or forbid an employee to participate in religious observances and practices. This includes scheduling changes or time off to allow an employee to participate in their religious practices. If an employer fails to do so, then the employee can make a case and must show proof that the accommodation was requested and reasonable. It’s important to note that an employer isn’t required to provide accommodation if it presents an undue hardship, such as anything that imposes substantially higher costs in relation to the business of the employer. If the employer claims that the requested accommodation would have created undue hardship, the employee will also want some evidence to counter that claim.

Do I Have To Prove My Religion To My Employer?

In religious discrimination cases, an employer can’t dispute the basis for an employee’s religious claim, since an employee’s belief isn’t required to be approved by an established religious organization. However, an employer can request that the employee’s religious sincerity be examined. For instance, if an employee’s reasoning for an accommodation is inconsistent and changes from something else to religious reasons, the employer may doubt the genuineness of their request. As a result, the employer can assume that the employee is using religion to avoid a work requirement.

Discuss Your Evidence With Our Religious Discrimination Lawyers

If you feel your religious freedoms may have been violated anywhere in the Philadelphia or New Jersey area, or if you would like to ask about your rights under Title VII, contact the Zeff Law Firm immediately and discuss it with our religious discrimination lawyers and defend your legal rights.

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