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What is religious discrimination in the workplace?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees based on a number of protected classes. One of those protected classes is religion and, as such, a New York employer may be liable for an employee's damages if that employee suffers adverse employment actions due to their religious practices and preferences.

For example, although employers may require that their employees follow particular religious practices, those mandates must be closely tied to the work that the employees do. Consider priests in the Roman Catholic faith: it is imperative that individuals in this line of work accept Roman Catholicism as their personal religion and advocate for it in their roles as workers for the Church. An auto mechanic's shop that mandates that all of its employees are Christian may not find as much legal backing should a religious discrimination case arise with one of its employees.

Additionally, employers can commit discrimination based on religion if they implement policies that target individuals of particular faiths. If an employer banned prayer during certain times of the day, then individuals whose religions require that they pray at set times may not be allowed to practice their faith while at work. Employers may impose dress requirements that keep certain individuals from wearing the adornments of their faiths; policies such as these are discriminatory and often prohibited by federal and state law.

Employers can also be charged with religious discrimination if they allow their workplaces to become hostile to individuals of particular faiths. Pursuing cases of religious discrimination can be challenging, but it often benefits victims of this atrocious form of discrimination to solicit the support of employment law attorneys to guide them through their cases.

Source: FindLaw, "Religious Discrimination," accessed September 5, 2017

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