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You deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace. You should not be harassed or discriminated against because of your race, gender, sexuality, or national origin. Nor should you be discriminated against because of your religious beliefs. Federal law and the law of the state of California prohibit companies from making job-related decisions based on a person’s religious beliefs. You cannot be denied an employment opportunity, promotion, training, or any other kind of advancement because of your religion or non-religion.
The Law’s View of Religion
You need not belong to a large and well-known religious organization to receive protection under this law. The law defines a religion as a person’s beliefs about the ultimate questions that have confronted humankind since the dawn of civilization—that is, beliefs about life, death, purpose, and the larger meanings of human existence. You are still covered even if you are part of a sect or offshoot of a larger religious organization or you hold a different interpretation of your religion than most others. The main point is that they are your sincerely held and deeply personal beliefs and no one has any right to punish you for them.
Protection for Atheists
The last twenty years has seen a significant rise in the number of people who identify as “nones”—people who belong to no specific religion and may hold no religious beliefs. There has been an unfortunate backlash to this trend, and in too many cases non-believers have been shut out of job opportunities because of what they don’t believe.
Your right not to believe is protected under Title VII. Indeed, your right to adhere to a philosophical system that denies the existence of God is considered a sincerely held personal belief under this law. You may even belong to a group that actively works against organized religion in politics and in the wider public sphere. As long as you do not bring this activism to the workplace, you cannot be punished for it.
In this vein, it should be noted that not all personal beliefs are religious. You may hold certain beliefs about politics, economics, and society that may be informed by your religion, but that does not make them religious beliefs. To be sure, the right to hold these beliefs are protected in general but not necessarily in the workplace. For example, an organization need not hire or retain a person who adheres to a racist, sexist, or anti-gay ideology. Religious freedom cannot be invoked to defend such a person’s right to employment and opportunity.
Employers must do all that they can to accommodate the rituals and practices associated with religious belief. The world is a much busier place than it once was. However, meetings that are scheduled on the sabbath of Islam, Judaism, or Christianity must be done in a way that allows individuals to attend services. The same goes for religious holidays. Although the U.S. only recognizes Christian holidays as national holidays, allowance must be made for people of different faiths to celebrate important days and events on the calendar. Body coverings, tattoos, and piercings are also part of some religious practices. These should be allowed even if they do not comport with the company’s dress code.
Determining a Sincerely Held Belief
There are federally-established guidelines that determine whether a person is acting from a sincerely held religious belief. Some of the factors that indicate an employee is not acting from this motivation include:
- Behavior that is inconsistent with their professed belief
- Evidence that the employee is seeking a material benefit
- Suspect timing for certain requests
- The Most Common Kinds of Discrimination
Most people who engage in religious discrimination are sophisticated enough not to be obvious about it. They will not tell you directly that your unfair treatment owes to what you believe. For example, if you are in an organization that is owned and managed by Catholics and you notice that only Catholic employees are invited to informal social events and are given insights into how to advance, then you have the grounds for a religious discrimination case. You should speak to a Los Angeles workplace lawyer.
You should also be protected against harassment. The latter includes conduct that is so severe and pervasive that it creates an atmosphere of intimation and constant hostility. If you are constantly mocked because of your beliefs or are forced to hear cruel comments, then you should report the perpetrators to the proper authorities in your company. If nothing is done to combat this harassment, then your employer should be held accountable. A religious discrimination lawyer Los Angeles can advise you on the best action to take.
If you are denied reasonable accommodation to celebrate the holy days of your religion, then you must likewise hold your employer accountable. In this instance, you may want to try to reason with your manager. If you can still get the work done, then there is no reason why you should not be able to observe your religion’s sabbath or other special days. A religious discrimination lawyer Los Angeles can help you get justice if you have been unfairly treated.
When to Launch a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit against their employer is not something that most people want to do. However, you should not resign to being treated unfairly. If you have experienced discrimination for my religious belief in Los Angeles, then you are probably not alone in the organization. If every attempt to resolve the situation inside the company has failed, then you must get into it legally. A workplace religious discrimination attorney can help you build your case.
At the very instant that you have experienced discrimination for my religious belief in Los Angeles you should start documenting the incidents. All emails, text messages, and social media posts that indicate such prejudice should be saved and sent to your private account. If you are eventually terminated, you should leave with dignity, and then hire a workplace religious discrimination attorney.
If you have been discriminated against for what you do or do not believe, you should contact a lawyer for victims of religious discrimination. A lawyer for victims of religious discrimination will take the appropriate legal steps to get you justice and compensation.