In the United States, freedom of religion is a fundamental right. You are free to practice any religion you choose, and you cannot be discriminated against because of your faith, especially in the workplace.
If you experience religious discrimination in the workplace, you can file a religious discrimination lawsuit against your employer.
A California religious discrimination attorney can help protect your rights.
What Is Religious Discrimination in the Workplace?
Religious discrimination is treating employees differently merely because of their religion or beliefs. Religious discrimination in the workplace can present itself in a variety of ways, including:
- Failure to accommodate, or
- Employment decisions based on religion.
If you have ever been fired, passed up for a promotion, harassed, or experienced any type of harm in the workplace due to your religious beliefs, you have experienced religious discrimination.
California Religious Rights for Employees
Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act offers protection against religious discrimination in the workplace, but California takes it a step further. California has the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
The FEHA offers more protection than Title VII. Unlike Title VII, you do not need a unanimous verdict in California as is necessary in federal court, and there is no cap on damages. California takes religious rights seriously, offering employees extra protection.
Reasonable Religious Accommodations
Sometimes an employee’s religion will interfere with their work. Under California religious accommodation law, your employer must make reasonable religious accommodations.
Religious accommodations can vary. Accommodations may include adjusting dress or grooming practices by permitting head scarves, certain hairstyles, or facial hair. Employees may also have to take days off work to observe religious holidays.
An employee must notify their employer of their need for accommodation. If the accommodation requested does not pose any undue hardship to the employer’s business, they must grant the accommodation.
Do You Have a Religious Discrimination Case in California?
As stated above, religious discrimination can present itself in a variety of ways. If you have suffered any kind of work-related harm based on your religion, you have likely experienced religious discrimination.
An Employer Refuses to Hire You
If you applied for a job and an employer refuses to hire you because of your religious beliefs, this is a form of religious discrimination. An employer might not ask you about your religion outright but may make certain inquiries, including dates you’ll need off work for religious reasons. It is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire you based on religion.
Just like it is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire you based on religious beliefs, an employer cannot fire you because of your religion. Your employer’s reasons for firing you cannot have anything to do with your religious beliefs.
You’re Denied a Promotion
Many times, when a promotion is open, there will be multiple candidates for the position. However, an employer cannot pass you up for a promotion solely because of your religion.
You’re Harassed in the Workplace
Harassment occurs when others treat an employee cruelly or offensively, creating a hostile and unpleasant work environment. Fellow employees or employers making fun of you or making rude comments or threats can all constitute religious harassment.
Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation
If you request a religious accommodation that does not pose an undue burden on your employer’s business and they deny it, this is religious discrimination. Legally, your employer must approve religious accommodations, if possible.
You’re Purposely Segregated
If your employer purposely segregates you, this is considered religious discrimination. For example, suppose your employer does not want you in a client-facing position because they do not agree with your religious dress or grooming style. In that case, they are discriminating against you based on your religion.
Religious Discrimination Can Take Many Forms
Aside from the above reasons, religious discrimination can also appear in other ways, including:
- Unequal or unfair pay,
- Reductions in salary, or
- Denial of benefits.
If you feel you are being discriminated against and have suffered harm in the workplace due to your religious beliefs, a religious discrimination attorney can help you.
Compensation Available in a Religious Discrimination Lawsuit
Damages available in a religious discrimination lawsuit will depend on the type of discrimination and the severity of the harm. Some of the most common kinds of damages you may seek in a religious discrimination lawsuit settlements include:
- Lost wages,
- Lost benefits, and
- Emotional distress.
In some instances, you may also be able to collect punitive damages. Punitive damages are assessed as a way to punish and deter bad behavior when an employer has acted with malice. These kinds of damages are rare but may be sought, depending on the circumstances surrounding the discrimination.
Your California religious discrimination attorney will evaluate your case and calculate the damages available to you. They will work diligently to ensure you receive the fairest compensation.
Contact a California Religious Discrimination Lawyer
If you believe you have suffered religious discrimination, do not hesitate to contact a California religious discrimination attorney. An attorney can review your case, give you legal advice, and answer any questions you may have.
Workplace Rights Law Group has experience handling even the most complex workplace discrimination cases. Our team can offer a unique perspective, as many of our attorneys have been on the other side of the table representing employers.
Our experience gives us the knowledge and skills necessary to offer top-quality legal representation and fight for your rights. We offer free case evaluations. Call us at 818-844-5200 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.