As an employee, you expect to be treated based upon the quality of your work, not on your religion. However, even in this modern world, many employees face religious discrimination at the hands of their employers. If you have been subjected to religious discrimination in your New York workplace, you deserve justice. Brown Kwon & Lam is here to serve.
What is religious discrimination?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, religious discrimination involves, “treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.”
Religious discrimination is not limited to aspects of employment such as hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. Religious discrimination also includes:
- Harassment: Offensive remarks about religious beliefs/practices which create a hostile work environment.
- Segregation: If an employee wears religious garb or follows specific grooming practices, that employee cannot be placed in non-customer contact roles because of actual or feared customer preferences.
- Reasonable Accommodations: So long as it does not interfere with the business as a whole, employers must make reasonable efforts to create flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices to allow for the practice of religion.
- Dress & Grooming Policies: Unless it causes an undue burden on the business, employers should make reasonable accommodations for employees to wear the garb or groom as per their religious preferences. This may include clothing like a Jewish yarmulke or a Muslim headscarf, wearing certain hairstyles or facial hair such as Rastafarian dreadlocks or Sikh uncut hair and beard, or religious prohibition against wearing certain garments such as pants or miniskirts.
Though this is not all-encompassing, it is important to note that an employer does not have to make accommodations if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer/business. Such burden may mean the accommodation is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.
What laws protect employees from religious discrimination?
Both federal and state law protects employees from religious discrimination in New York.
The New York City Human Rights Law protects workers from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on actual or perceived religion or creed. It is illegal for employers, housing providers, business owners, and providers of public accommodations in New York City to treat someone differently because of their faith.
In addition, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits federal agencies from discriminating against employees or applicants for employment because of their religious beliefs in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment.
I’ve been discriminated against because of my religion/ religious practices. What should I do?
If you have been discriminated against in your New York job because of your actual or perceived religion, you deserve justice. You deserve to be treated fairly, no matter what religious practice you abide by.
New York Religious Discrimination Attorneys: Brown Kwon & Lam
If you are a victim of religious discrimination in your workplace and are in need of legal representation, do not hesitate to contact the New York employment discrimination attorneys of Brown Kwon & Lam. We will fight for your rights.