Religious Discrimination

Those with sincerely held religious faith are often persecuted and discriminated against because of their beliefs. Fortunately, federal law prohibits such discrimination. If you have suffered an adverse employment action as a result of your strongly-held religious convictions, trust Five Points Law Group to fight for your rights. Call us for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about your options.

Understanding Religious Discrimination

Religion can be a difficult and sensitive issue for many, but under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, individuals have a basic set of protections that prohibit employers from discriminating against them on religious grounds. This set of laws is commonly referred to as “Title VII,” due to the specific section of the Act where the protections appear.

Under the law, employers may not take negative or adverse actions against you because of your religion. Such actions include:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotions
  • Raises
  • Job assignments
  • Opportunities for advancement
When is a Religion Covered by Law?

Actually, your faith does not need to be part of a large, denominational religion. The law protects all types of faith. While there are obvious religions, such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, other less traditional systems of faith or belief are also protected, so long as the beliefs are “sincerely held.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has set forth certain rules that are considered central to whether something is a religion. In general, it must deal with the “ultimate ideas” relating to life and death and the meaning of life.

Importantly, the EEOC does not extend the same types of protections to political opinion, social belief systems, or personal philosophies. The distinction can seem minor at times, so it is a good idea to discuss your situation with an attorney, especially if you are a member of a small or less traditional or less known religion.

When Does the Law Apply?

Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including:

  • Private companies
  • State government
  • Local government
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Labor Unions

Therefore, most Alabama workers are covered by the law.

Common Examples of Discrimination

There are numerous ways employers and coworkers can violate the law. In particular, here are just a few examples that come up frequently:

This is when an employer fires, refuses to hire or promote, or takes some other negative action against you for your religion. For instance, if an employer refuses to hire someone of a specific religion or chooses to pass the person over for promotions due to his or her religious faith.

This is the most frequently recognized form of religious discrimination. A good example would be terminating an employee for wearing religious attire, such as yarmulkes or a hijab. While there are certainly jobs where these accommodations may not be possible due to safety concerns or health department regulations, the key is whether a reasonable accommodation is available and whether all employees must adhere to the same rule. If other employees are allowed to wear headwear but certain religious headwear is prohibited, there could be a problem. 

  • It is also unlawful to intimidate, harass, or create a hostile work environment for people, based on religious beliefs. Constant and unwelcome rebukes, threats, or insensitive remarks may be viewed as harassment, depending on the circumstances.
Get Help Right Away

Rather than just wondering what you should do about a negative employment situation, get help from an experienced attorney who can review your case and offer real advice now. The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the sooner you can take action to protect your hard-earned career and income. Call Five Points Law Group today.

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