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Navigating Religious Beliefs in the Workplace

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Everyone has the right to practice their religion without fear of discrimination or retribution. Unfortunately, religious discrimination in the workplace still occurs. Religious discrimination involves treating a person or group differently because of their beliefs or practices. This type of discrimination can occur in any aspect of employment, from hiring, firing, promotions, training opportunities, and more. An employer cannot make decisions based on an employee’s religion. It is illegal for an employer to make any type of job decision based on an employee’s religious beliefs or practices.

Examples of Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Here are some examples of religious discrimination in the workplace:

  • Not hiring someone because they belong to a particular faith group.
  • Refusing to pay overtime for work done on a Saturday or Sunday.
  • Denying someone a promotion because they take off certain days for religious observance.
  • Forcing an employee to wear clothing that does not adhere with their religion.
  • Making jokes about someone’s faith group at work.

These are just some examples. There are many other ways that employers can discriminate against workers due to their faith or lack thereof, and those actions may rise to the level of illegal.

What Is a Religious Accommodation?

A religious accommodation is when employers modify working conditions because of an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Generally speaking, if an accommodation does not cause “undue hardship” on the business, then the employer must grant it unless they have another reasonable justification for denying it.

Some common accommodations include flexible scheduling and modifications, such as wearing special clothing or jewelry related to one’s faith. Employers may also need to provide additional time off for special observances if requested by employees.

What Are Employers Required to Do?

Employers are required by law to reasonably accommodate employees who wish to practice their religion in the workplace if doing so does not create an undue hardship on the business. This means that employers must be willing to make reasonable changes, such as providing additional break times for prayer, allowing observance of special days off from work, and granting requests for flexible scheduling if it does not create too much burden on operations and productivity levels remain within acceptable limits. Undue hardship refers primarily to economic burden but may also include any disruption caused by accommodating an employee’s request.

South Jersey Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Help Protect Your Rights at Work

You have a right to practice your religion, and if your employer infringes on that right, you may have a legal cause of action against them. Speak with our South Jersey employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today to learn your options. Contact us at 215-569-1999 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.

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