Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) protects employees from various forms of bigotry in the workplace. This law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Unfortunately, despite the law, many workers find themselves in a situation where they’re being discriminated against based on their religious beliefs. If this sounds like your situation, then a religious discrimination lawyer in Bellevue can help protect your rights.
What is Religious Belief Discrimination?
Religious belief discrimination occurs when an employer mistreats one group of employees based on their spiritual beliefs, even though they perform their duties to the required standards. Both federal and Washington state law provisions generally make all aspects of religious bigotry illegal. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency tasked with investigating these complaints. It also reminds employers of their obligations and provides employees with helpful resources.
The Civil Rights Act requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations for religious employees unless it creates undue hardship upon them. That means making flexible job schedules and allowing voluntary job swaps or reassignments. It also means avoiding the mistreatment of employees who are married, related, or somewhat associated with the affected religious group.
In addition to the Civil Rights Act, there is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, which forbids the federal government from passing laws that restrict religious freedom unless they advance government interests. Other states, including Washington, have their own versions of the RFRA.
Title VII covers all private, state, and government organizations with 15 or more employees. It also shields you from retaliation if you decide to sue your employer or discuss remuneration with your colleagues. You’re also free to become a witness in another person’s discrimination case.
It’s worth noting that these rules don’t just apply to individuals who actively practice their faith. Religious belief in this context also refers to non-theistic doctrines. You may not be religious in the traditional sense, but still hold strong positions regarding morality and ethics.
What Are Examples of Religious Discrimination?
Federal laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate on a religious basis while hiring, firing, and enforcing other employment terms. Examples of religious discrimination in the workplace include:
- Refusal to hire, promote, or accommodate members of a particular religion.
- The imposition of more stringent measures or bigger workloads on some adherents.
- Exclusion of some employees from career advancement opportunities.
- Mistreating individuals whose names are associated with certain religious groups.
- Compelling employees to attend religious service or stopping them from doing so.
- Workplace segregation along religious lines. An example is preventing employees of certain religions from holding front office jobs.
One or more of these instances can count toward a hostile work environment, where employees suffer from harassment and victimization, despite seeking help from the human resources department. However, it’s important to note that harassment or discrimination does not always have to be so blatant. Indirect discrimination could be a dress code that bans clothing, headwear, or hairstyles that have religious significance.
If you experience a hostile work environment, you should contact religious discrimination lawyers in Bellevue for help. An attorney can help determine whether you have a strong case and help you gather evidence needed to prove your claim.
What Should I Do If I’ve Experienced Religious Discrimination?
Most religious discrimination lawyers will recommend trying to solve the matter internally as a first step. For example, if you met all the criteria for a promotion that you didn’t receive, ask your manager why. You should be concerned if such decisions occur immediately after disclosing your religious beliefs.
You should also launch a formal internal complaint with the HR department to get your experience of harassment or discrimination on record. Go through the employee handbook to learn the exact process you should follow. Remember to keep documentary evidence of every step.
If your employer fails to deal with the issue conclusively, an attorney can help you file a discrimination claim with the EEOC. This step is mandatory before you can file a lawsuit. In addition to investigating your claim, the EEOC might try to initiate a settlement or they may give you the go-ahead to take further legal action.
Our religious discrimination lawyers in Bellevue will guide you through the process. They’ll thoroughly assess your claim and fulfill the necessary legal requirements for litigation.
Reach Out to HKM Employment Attorneys of Bellevue for a Consultation
The HKM Employment Attorneys law firm has the most competent religious discrimination lawyers in Bellevue. We have launched several successful lawsuits and settlements on behalf of past clients who were discriminated against based on their religious practices.
Our specialization in employment law means we understand all the clauses you need for a favorable outcome. A lawsuit against a discriminative employer doesn’t just help you, but also establishes a precedent that will benefit other employees. Please contact our discrimination attorneys for a comprehensive evaluation of your claim.