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Employee rights and protections regarding religious beliefs

Employer discrimination, in general, is the negative or unfair treatment of employees based on their status in a federally protected class. These classes include gender, age, race and religion, among others. Employees who are harassed or treated in a hostile manner by their employer or fellow employees may have a cause for legal action for such treatment.

Religious discrimination is the unfavorable or differing treatment of an employee due to their religious beliefs or association with a religion. This protection extends not only to organized and recognized religions, but also personal, sincerely held beliefs. The legal protections apply to all phases of the employment process, including application, hiring, promotions, termination and benefits.

Harassment or discrimination based on religion occurs when offensive remarks are made about an employee's beliefs. The frequency and severity of such remarks are taken into account in determining whether such comments create a hostile work environment for the employee. Additionally, religious discrimination occurs when a negative decision regarding employment is based on an employee's religion. Employees have a right to be treated equally to other employees regardless of their religious beliefs. If an employee requires specific accommodations in their employment for their religion, an employer must do so unless it will cause an undue hardship for the employer.

All employees and prospective employees are entitled to protections by law and have a reasonable expectation of fair treatment by their employer. If an employee feels that these rights are being violated in some way, there may be legal options.

Source: eeoc.gov, "Religious Discrimination," accessed on June 21, 2015

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.
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