American businesses thrive when employees of different cultures and beliefs work together towards a common goal. Unfortunately, several employees face harassment and discrimination in the workplace that causes undue stress and poor performance.
If you’ve been denied a promotion, certain job positions, or even harassed based on your personal religious beliefs, then a Boston employment attorney can help. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on belief, sex, race, national origin, gender identity, or disability. The legal representatives at HKM Employment Attorneys can help walk you through the process of filing an initial complaint and act as your advocate should your case escalate to an investigation or lawsuit.
What is Religious Discrimination?
Religious discrimination is the unfavorable treatment of an employee or a person seeking an employment opportunity based on their religious beliefs. It’s also not limited to just that particular employee. If the worker in question is discriminated against because they are married to or associated with someone of a specific religion, this is still illegal under federal and state law.
What Are Examples of Religious Discrimination?
Religious discrimination in the workplace can take many forms, including:
- Work-Life: Both federal and state laws prohibit employers from hiring, firing, or promoting their workers based on their religion. If you notice that only employees of a particular faith are given promotions or certain job assignments, then you may be witnessing religious discrimination.
- Harassment: Harassing an individual because of religious beliefs is also illegal. This includes making consistent, offensive remarks demeaning the person’s spiritual practices.
- Victimization: Employees treated unfairly because of religious beliefs have the right to complain or raise grievances. It is illegal for the employer to then retaliate against the employee by making their work situation worse, docking their pay, demoting them, or even laying them off.
- Segregation: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits job segregation based on religious beliefs. For instance, it is illegal for an employer to bar employees whose clothing or appearance has religious significance from certain client-facing jobs.
- Reasonable accommodations: Legally, employers must accommodate every employees’ religious practices and beliefs as long as it is within reason and does not cause undue burden to the business. Religious accommodations could include job reassignments, modifying workplace policies, shift swaps, and flexible scheduling.
- Dress and grooming policies: Employers should also accommodate every employees’ dressing practices unless it causes undue hardship on the business. This applies to certain hairstyles, head coverings, and garments that an employee may wear for religious reasons.
What Should I Do if I’ve Experienced Religious Discrimination?
Consulting a Boston employment attorney is the first step you should take if you face religious discrimination. According to the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA), workers whose job has at least six employees can file a religious discrimination claim within 180 days after the last act of discrimination.
You can also file a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal organization tasked with investigating charges associated with religious discrimination.
Like other employment discrimination lawsuits, winning the claim requires that you prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your employer violated your religious beliefs or practices. A lawyer who is familiar with these types of cases can help you gather the evidence or witnesses you need to support your claim and increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Seek Legal Advice from a Boston Religious Discrimination Lawyer
If you face religious discrimination in your workplace, don’t hesitate to consult HKM Employment Attorneys. With years of experience working with several practice areas involving employment law, we have the knowledge needed to guide you through each step of making your claim, from sending the initial complaint to human resources to gathering evidence for your lawsuit.
Your first step is to consult with a member of our team in Boston, so reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.