Title VII prohibits religious discrimination. This means your employer may not discriminate against you “because of” your religious beliefs. This also prohibits harassment based on your religious beliefs as well as retaliation against you for complaining about religious discrimination or for participating in someone else’s religious discrimination case.
The religious discrimination laws have three separate protections:
- Your employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate your religious beliefs and practices in the workplace;
- Your employer may not impose its religious views on you or permit your co-employees to impose their religious views on you; and
- Your employer may not take adverse action against you (including harassment) because of your religious beliefs.
The duty to accommodate
If you follow a recognized religious faith and your faith requires you to engage in certain practices or wear certain types of clothing while in the workplace, your employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate you. This means the employer must allow you to wear a religious head covering or engage in prayers as long as the practice does not place an undue burden on your employer. Typically, this means your employer must accommodate you unless it would be prohibitively expensive for it to do so or your religious practice would interfere with the operations of your employer’s business or present a safety hazard.
Imposing religious views
If your employer or other employees have strong religious views, the law prohibits them from imposing their religious views on you in the workplace. Although individuals must be allowed to practice their religion, they have no right to impose it on others. Thus, the law prohibits employer practices such as requiring you to attend prayer meetings. The law also prohibits your co-employees from publicly engaging in worship if their worship interferes with your ability to work.
Your employer may not take an adverse action against you based on your religious beliefs. If you suspect that your employer has discriminated against you because of your religious faith, call us at 202-589-1838 or email us.