The United States was founded on the principle of religious freedom, which is written in the First Amendment of our constitution and protected in the workplace by both Pennsylvania state law and federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers who use religious discrimination to make employment decisions are in strict violation of these laws and can be held responsible in civil court through financial compensation, by being forced to give an employee his or her job back, or reversing any other damage that they did to an employee’s career.
What is Religious Discrimination
Any unfavorable employment decision made by an employer that is based on an employee’s religious beliefs or perceived religious beliefs is considered religious discrimination, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The only exception to giving employees or applicants preferential treatment is reserved for religious organizations, according to the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act. As such, the following are areas of employment where religious discrimination may be present:
- Job promotion
- Promotions or demotions
- Equal pay
- Overtime pay and vacation days
- Career advancement opportunities, such as continued education or other opportunities that an employer offers or fails to offer
- Job duties and tasks
A few examples of how religious discrimination could be occurring in your workplace include the following
- Not hiring an employee because of his or her religion
- Actively not promoting a position to a religious group
- Giving the more desirable job duties and tasks to employees of a particular religion, while not offering those duties to those of another religion
- Only promoting employees of a particular religion
- Refusing to make a reasonable accommodation, such as allowing Jewish employees to take Sabbath off from work when they notify the employer in advance
- Harassing an employee or allowing an employee to be harassed because of his or her religion
- Excluding an employee from a particular job, office space, or group workplace activity because of his or her religion.
Have You Been Harassed or Mistreated?
Maybe your employer has provided fair pay and promotion opportunities, but you still feel like something is off at work due to the way you are regularly treated by your boss or coworkers. Harassment is any unfavorable personal treatment to which you are subjected because of your religion, such as being mocked, made fun of, threatened, excluded, called names, or assaulted. Similarly, if your employer has created a hostile work environment in which coworkers harass you to the point that you are not able to fulfill your job duties to your best ability, a discrimination lawsuit may be in order.
A Pennsylvania Employment Attorney can Help You Today
Religious discrimination, while less common today than a generation ago, is still quite common in Pennsylvania workplaces. If you suspect that your rights have been violated due to religious discrimination, a lawyer can help. At HKM Employment Attorneys, we have more than 40 years of experience representing employees. Call us today at 412-368-5754 for help.