Many people in California find a source of comfort and identity in their religion. It follows that they will want to practice their religious beliefs in their daily lives including while at work. Federal law recognizes this and protects employees from religious discrimination in the workplace.
What is religious discrimination and harassment?
Federal law forbids employers from discriminating against people with disabilities in the hiring process, layoffs, promotions, benefits, demotions and any other terms or conditions of employment. Essentially, religious discrimination involves treating an employee differently due to their religion.
Religious harassment is also prohibited. Harassment includes offensive statements. Mere teasing and offhand comments will not suffice. The harassment must be so frequent and severe that it results in a hostile work environment or an adverse employment decision.
Federal law mandates that employers reasonably accommodate a worker’s religious practices, unless it would cause the employer an undue hardship. For example, an employer could be flexible in scheduling, allow for shift switches or reassign jobs in order to accommodate for a worker’s religious practices with minimal burden to the employer. However, what constitutes an undue hardship depends on the size and financial situation of the employer. What may constitute a reasonable accommodation for a large employer may constitute an undue hardship for a small employer.
Protect your rights
Ultimately you have protection under federal law from religious discrimination and harassment in the workplace. By understanding your rights, you are better able to protect yourself if you find yourself the victim of workplace harassment and discrimination based on religion.