Consult With Our Los Angeles Religious Discrimination Lawyers
As an employee, you have the right under Federal law, to practice your religion. That means if you need to leave work early for religious reasons, or are unable to work on the weekend, your employer must make every effort to accommodate your schedule, unless it would pose an undue hardship ( under Federal law). Furthermore, employers cannot discriminate against one particular religious group while favoring another. There must be a sound business reason for business decisions—discriminatory practices violate both Federal and California Law. If you are facing religious discrimination in the workplace, speak with our Los Angeles religious discrimination lawyers at YMS.
What is Workplace Religious Discrimination?
As it relates to employment, religious discrimination is when an employer treats an employee differently because of their religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation. In California, both state and federal laws prohibit religious discrimination in the workplace, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This federal law makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on their religion. Title VII covers all employers with at least 15 employees, including state and local governments.
- The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): This state law prohibits discrimination in employment based on an employee’s religion. The FEHA covers all employers in California with at least five employees.
- The California Constitution: The California Constitution makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on their religion.
- The California Labor Code: The California Labor Code prohibits discriminating against an employee based on their religious creed or beliefs.
Under these laws, discrimination on the basis of religion is prohibited in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and working conditions. Additionally, employers must make reasonable efforts to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, as long as it does not cause an undue hardship on the employer.
Types of Religious Discrimination
Religious discrimination can take many forms: members of one religion may be harassed because their faith is unpopular. Other examples of religious discrimination in the workplace include:
Harassment: This occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct because of their religion. Harassment can include derogatory comments, slurs, offensive jokes, or physical intimidation.
Failure to accommodate: Employers must make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, as long as the accommodation does not cause an undue hardship on the employer’s business. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Flexible scheduling
- Allowing time off for religious holidays; and
- Providing a space for prayer
Retaliation: Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who complain about religious discrimination or who participate in a religious discrimination investigation. Retaliation can take many forms, such as demotion, termination, or reassignment to a less desirable position.
Adverse employment actions: Employers are prohibited from taking adverse employment actions, such as termination or demotion, against employees because of their religion or religious practices.
Segregation: Employers are prohibited from segregating employees based on their religion. For example, an employer cannot assign an employee to a different work location or shift because of their religion.
Recruitment and hiring: Employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants based on their religion. This can include refusing to hire someone because of their religious dress, affiliation, or beliefs.
The harassment has to rise to the level of ‘severe and debilitating’. Moreover, if a supervisor notices discriminatory conduct and takes no action to stop it, the employer’s firm may be held liable for creating a hostile work environment.
The California Workplace Religious Freedom Act
In 2013, California expanded the protections against religious discrimination by enacting The California Workplace Religious Freedom Act. It gives employees the right to wear religious garments and follow grooming standards that accord with their religion. The employer must make these accommodations unless they can prove that they would pose a substantial hardship or expense. This raises the burden on employers under State law; the Federal law only imposes a showing that accommodation would be more than a ‘minimal’ expense.
Employees have the right to observe their religion and have their reasonable requests granted by the employer. That includes schedule adjustments, the wearing of clothing not worn by other employees. The dress code should be flexible enough to accommodate these differences as long as they do not interfere with safety. There must be a sound business reason, or the courts will find the practice violates public policy and constitutes religious discrimination.
If you believe you have experienced religious discrimination in the workplace, you may be entitled to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may also want to consult with an experienced Los Angeles religious discrimination lawyer who can help protect your rights and guide you through the legal process.
Contact Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani | Los Angeles Religious Discrimination Lawyers
If you have experienced discrimination in Los Angeles because of your religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation, an experienced Los Angeles religious discrimination lawyer from our law firm can advocate for your rights in the workplace and obtain justice for you. Call Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani today at (310) 499-0140 or visit our contact page to arrange a free and confidential case evaluation.