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Workplace religious discrimination

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Employment Law |

Employees of Maryland have certain rights in the workplace. One of the protections afforded to workers makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against them based on religion. Unfortunately, workplace religious discrimination still occurs.

What workers are protected against religious discrimination?

Per employment law, all employees of private employers with at least 15 workers and those who work for the government at any level are protected against religious discrimination. Title VII makes religious discrimination in the workplace illegal. Employees have the right to work at their jobs and not have to face discrimination based on their religious beliefs and practices.

What are the different types of religious discrimination workers might face?

It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against or harass a worker for their religious beliefs. If an employee requires reasonable accommodations due to their religious beliefs, the employer must provide it to them. Not providing such accommodations is grounds for a discrimination claim. Reasonable accommodations could include requesting a specific work schedule, taking off certain days observed by the employee’s religion and even being allowed to wear certain types of clothing, being excused from wearing other clothing or being allowed to wear certain hairstyles.

Religious discrimination can include religion-based jokes, teasing and unfair treatment. If the workplace environment becomes hostile, a complaint can be lodged by the target. The employer would be required to address the situation and rectify it.

The abuser could be a coworker, manager, supervisor or anyone else who works with the victim. They could even be an independent contractor.

When does the employer have to provide reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs?

Employment law makes it a requirement for reasonable accommodations to be provided for sincerely held religious beliefs. For example, if a person belongs to a certain religion but doesn’t practice or isn’t actually religious, they would be exempt from reasonable accommodations. However, if the employee is devout and openly practices their religion, they are legally entitled to religious reasonable accommodations by their employer.

Religious discrimination or any type of discrimination at work is illegal and unacceptable. Employees should understand their rights and work to protect them.