What is Religious Discrimination?
If you are being treated differently or hostilely at your workplace because of your religion, you may have the right to bring a discrimination claim against your employer. Also, if you have been treated differently or hostilely by a prospective employer because of your religion, you may be qualified to bring a religious discrimination claim against that employer for their refusal to hire you. This is because both federal and state laws protect individuals from religious discrimination in employment. Simply put, religious discrimination in employment occurs when an employee or someone seeking employment suffers an adverse employment action due to their religion or when an employer refuses to reasonably accommodate an employee’s or applicant’s religious beliefs and practices.
What are Your Rights?
The U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to observe the religion of their choice. Generally, in America, there is no “regular,” or “normal” religion. When it comes to state laws, the Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects New Jerseyans against discrimination based on religious beliefs in employment. Unlike Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that provides protection against religious discrimination to employees working for employers with at least 15 employees, the NJLAD applies to even those employees working for employers with fewer than 15 employees.
So, what exactly are your rights according to the NJLAD? First, according to New Jersey law, you have the right to apply for any job and be fairly considered regardless of your religious beliefs. It is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire you because of your religious beliefs. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the law provides an exception for employers that are religious organizations or associations. Such employers are allowed to use religious affiliation as a job requirement and follow their religious beliefs when establishing and utilizing criteria for employment.
Secondly, the NJLAD guarantees you the right to be free from harassment in the workplace because of your religious beliefs. Harassment can include offensive remarks about an employee’s religious practices or beliefs. An employer may be held liable for such harassment by co-workers, supervisors, or non-employees.
Thirdly, the NJLAD requires employers to provide employees or job applicants with reasonable religious accommodations unless doing so would create an undue hardship for an employer. For example, an employer may be required by law to allow modifications of its dress code to allow an employee to wear attire required by their religious beliefs as long as doing so does not impose an undue hardship on their business. It is also your legal right to be permitted to take time off for religious observances, as long as doing so does not impose an undue hardship on your employer’s business. Your employer can provide such an accommodation, for example, by letting another employee who knows how to do your work swap shifts with you.
Lastly, according to the NJLAD, an employer cannot treat an employee differently in the terms and conditions of employment, such as pay and other job benefits, because of the employee’s religious beliefs.
Contact Our Office for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have experienced religious discrimination in employment, we can help. The Trabosh Law Firm is experienced in handling discrimination cases and can help you prove your claim and recover the damages you deserve. Contact the Trabosh Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.