Religious Discrimiantion Attorney in Los Angeles

Religious Discrimination Attorney Los Angeles

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The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees that everyone in the United States has the right to exercise his or her own religion, or no religion at all. While society has generally become more tolerant and respectful of different religions, it is a sad reality that religious discrimination persists in the workplace today.

Under both state and federal law, it is illegal for an employer to treat a person unfairly or differently based on his or her religious beliefs or practices. This type of behavior is considered discrimination and can be grounds for a religious discrimination lawsuit against the employer.

If you believe your employer is discriminating against you based on your religious beliefs, the Los Angeles religious discrimination lawyers at Shegerian & Associates can ensure that your rights are thoroughly protected.

Laws Protecting Employees From Religious Discrimination

Discrimination based on an individual’s religion is a violation of both state and federal law.

The California Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) of 2012 was an expansion of the protections outlined in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) with respect to religion. According to FEHA, it is unlawful for an employer to take unfair actions against someone because of their:

  • Religion
  • Religious creed
  • Religious observances
  • Religious beliefs
  • Religious garments
  • Religious grooming practices

Similarly, Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers on a federal level from discriminating against individuals in any way due to their religions. Unfair actions against an employee that are deemed religious discrimination can include:

  • Refusal to interview or hire a job applicant
  • Refusal to select an employee for an apprenticeship or job training program
  • Firing or laying off an employee
  • Passing up a qualified employee for a promotion or raise
  • Unfair enforcement of workplace policy and procedures
  • Discrimination in terms of conditions of employment, privileges of employment, or work benefits
  • Refusal to provide reasonable accommodations

Religious discrimination laws also apply to certain situations outside of employment. They also apply to labor organizations, unions, or training programs, which are prohibited from expelling individuals or withholding membership from them based on religious beliefs or practices.

Employers also have a legal responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations for certain religious beliefs or observances. They are required to make these accommodations as long as they do not cause “undue hardship,” which may include significant difficulty or expenses paid by the employer.

  • Religion is an important part of many people’s lives. Your decision to practice religion is a personal choice and employers should be respectful of your choice to participate in religious activities. Protections against religious discrimination apply to all religions, including those who are a part of traditional and organized religions such as:

    • Christianity
    • Judaism
    • Islam
    • Buddhism
    • Hinduism
    • Mormonism

    These protections also apply to all the branches and various denominations of the above religions, as well as any other religion that Title Vll defines in terms of “sincerely held beliefs.” The concept of “sincerely held beliefs” also carries over to groups not typically considered religious, but whose personal ethics, principles, or acts of self-expression can be reasonably compared to a religious moral code.

    Therefore, no matter which religion an employee practices or lack thereof, an employer must not violate certain protected rights involving the expression of sincerely held beliefs in the workplace.

  • While religious discrimination laws are encompassing there are exceptions and limitations. For instance, a religious organization may be able to restrict eligibility for employment in certain cases. This means that the job or position involves religious duties or demands. This may include:

    1. Churches
    2. Religious charities
    3. Non-profits
    4. Schools or universities

    Religious organizations cannot discriminate against someone based on their religion. However, religious based organizations can require a person to be of a certain faith to enjoy their benefits.

  • State and federal law offers certain protection to employees based on religious beliefs. This means that your employers cannot discriminate by:

    • Refusing to hire you
    • Refusing to select you for an apprenticeship or job training program
    • Firing you or laying you off
    • Denying you a promotion that you were qualified for
    • Denying benefits, including health insurance
    • Denying you a raise or bonus
    • Forcing you to quit
    • Denying Reasonable accommodations for religion-based requests
    • Harassing you or create a hostile work environment

    For instance, a Mormon, Muslim, or atheist working in a predominantly-Baptist organization has a right to not be mocked, interrogated, or otherwise harassed because of their religion. The law also applies to employees whose spouse practices a particular religion, or lack thereof.

    An employer must also accommodate reasonable religion-based requests. For instance, the law requires that an employee may request time set aside to pray, and a private area for devotion or worship. An employer must also accommodate certain expressions of religious dress or appearance. Unless such accommodations are unreasonably costly, hazardous, or otherwise burdensome to a business, an employer must by law honor these requests.

    Employers who deny reasonable religion-based requests, without providing clear evidence that such accommodations would cause undue burden to the business, might be engaging in religious discrimination, and would therefore be in violation of the law and liable for damages.

  • If you have been a victim of religious discrimination, you have certain rights. The first step you should take is speaking to a religious discrimination attorney who can help you enforce those rights. Your attorney will most likely initially file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).

  • Religious discrimination can take many forms, including religious slurs, illegal dismissal based on religion, any offensive verbal or physical conduct directed towards any religious group that the individual being harassed finds their work environment to be hostile or abusive, etc. These cover both verbal and physical harassment on the basis of religion. Some common examples of direct religious discrimination include:

    • Not hiring a candidate because of their religious beliefs
    • Paying an employee less or refusing to give them employee benefits because of their religion
    • Having stricter promotion requirements for an employee of a certain religion
    • Refusing an employee a customer-facing role because they don’t share the same religion as the employer
    • Disciplining or dismissing an employee because they’re dating a person from a certain religion or a sect.

Contact Shegerian & Associates and Fight for Your Religious Rights

The first step to fighting against discrimination in the workplace is to contact the qualified religious lawyers at Shegerian & Associates, who will discuss your personal situation with you and explain your legal rights and options.

The consultation is free, and in fact you won’t pay anything unless we win a verdict or settlement in your favor. Contact us today and fight back against religious discrimination at work.

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