Religious Discrimination FAQ’s | Mann & Elias
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Religious Discrimination FAQ’s


In the U.S., everyone is free to worship any religion without fear of persecution. Though this is one of many rights this country firmly stands behind, it does not mean that all co-workers and employers have the same feelings about religious practices in the office. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the environment can become unpleasant when religious views get brought into it. If you are a victim of religious discrimination, you may need an employment lawyer in Los Angeles to help you through the situation. In the meantime, we have answered questions as religious discrimination can happen in several ways.

What Is Religious Discrimination?

Religious discrimination is when an individual is treated differently because of their religion, beliefs, and practices. It can also happen among individuals for their lack of religious belief and practice. In most cases claims are filed against an employer. It is against the law for upper management to treat an employee differently or make decisions regarding his/her employment based on religion. There are laws in place (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to protect you from harassment and hold managers accountable. Three main forms of religious discrimination at work are:

Hiring, Firing and Denial of Employee Benefits – If you have been denied a job, promotion or faced direct and indirect harassment for your faith, you may be able to file a lawsuit. This type of discrimination is when an employer makes decisions based on your faith or lack of faith. For instance, if you celebrated Ramadan and needed to take a few days to engage in customary practices, an employer may refuse to hire you. With evidence, an attorney for illegal religion-based termination will help you figure out what to do next.

Harassment – Harassment claims look differently for everyone. It can include an employer verbally attacking an employee by telling them their religious wear violates the company’s dress code or making religiously targeted jokes. If an employee meets to discuss accommodations, the manager should make an effort instead of ignoring the situation.

Failure to Accommodate – Getting denied for religious accommodation by upper management is the most common form of discrimination. An employer simply denying requested time off, disallowing employee approval to wear head coverings, or reprimand them for praying during the day is unlawful.

What Is Religion from A Work Standpoint?

A company or small business must accept all aspects of traditional religious practices and non-traditional practices. Examples of organized religions are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) views religion as more of a personal practice, which Title VII protects in the office. When your religion is used against you to make work difficult, a lawyer for religious harassment would advise you to file a complaint with HR.

Who Enforces the Law?

The EEOC is responsible for making sure employees are protected against religious discrimination and lack of accommodation. Workplaces with 15 or more employees must adhere to their policies directly. Additionally, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) adds another protective barrier to allow employees liberty for religious grooming and dressing practices.

As an Employee, What Can I Do to Avoid Religious Conflict?

Communication is crucial between employer and employee when it comes to practicing religion in the office. You should tell your employer about religious commitments immediately, whether you are applying for a job or are a full-time employee. Make it objectively clear. Doing so allows the company to plan and accommodate. Unclear requests may get denied or overlooked.

Can I Be Denied from Taking Time Off on Religious Holidays or Days of Worship?

Before you start a job, or from the moment your religious practice starts to interfere with work, you should let your employer know. Reach out to an attorney as a preventative measure to draft a request. Your employer is required to allow you time off, as needed unless it would impose a “hardship” on the company. This normally pertains to adjustments that are too costly or difficult to provide. The EEOC similarly reviews claims to make sure:

  • Accommodations don’t exceed regular administrative costs.
  • Accommodations don’t reduce workplace efficiency.
  • Accommodations don’t impair workplace safety.
  • Accommodations don’t interfere with other employees’ rights.

What Happens When I Don’t Show Up to Work?

If taking time from work imposes a burden the employer can deny your request. Instead, he or she may offer you time to practice throughout the day at lunch or during break times. Time off is only required for holy days and emergencies. Whether you choose to come to work is your decision. Employers may give you leave without pay, ask that the time is made up, or you may be terminated.

Can I Reschedule an Interview with An Employer on A Day of Worship?

Yes, you can ask an employer to reschedule your interview if it conflicts with your religion and religious needs. You have the option to disclose that it is interfering with your day of worship or simply say you have a long-standing conflict before requesting another forthcoming date. If, for instance, an employer knows you rescheduled for religious reasons and proceeded to move forward in the job process without giving you a chance that is a form of discrimination. Reach out to a lawyer for victims of religious discrimination in preparation to act against the company if this happens to you.

Are Religious Jokes and Slurs Against the Law?

When a co-worker or employer makes a religious joke or slur, it can certainly turn into a fireable offense. You may feel hurt, religiously targeted, and unsafe in the end. If the obscene language was intended to offend you and disrespect your beliefs, a religious discrimination attorney would consider that harassment. Federal law doesn’t prohibit what another employee may consider as a joke, comment, or tease. Although, it does for employers who engage in inappropriate conduct. When your manager makes an inappropriate comment, he or she is treating you differently than other employees. Paired with evidence, filing a report to HR, and seeking advice from a legal professional, you might have a strong case. Under any hostile work environment claim, the employer is liable for what takes place (including their actions).

Retain A Discrimination Lawyer from Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every state and federal court system level in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases, an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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