It is your legal right under employment laws in this country to belong to any religion you choose. If for any reason you believe that your employer is discriminating against you because of your beliefs, or is making it difficult for you to work comfortably in the work environment due to your religion, you should contact the New York religious discrimination attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP.
Typically, under the various levels of law in this country, including local, state and federal, your religious beliefs are protected in the workplace. When it comes to your employment, it is not only membership of the established religions, such as Christianity, Buddhism or Judaism, who are protected. Also any other personal, ethical or religious beliefs that you may hold are also protected.
Employers do not have permission to discriminate in relation to religion. This means that no employer is able to refuse to hire a person, deny offering promotion to an employee, fire an employee, or act in any other adverse way towards an employee because of dislike or animosity towards the person’s religion. It is a violation of law for any company’s policies to discriminate against anyone of a particular religion.
On occasions, claims based on religious discrimination are due to hostility towards the victim in the work environment. Sometimes, individual workers are picked on and are continually harassed or subjected to contemptuous comments based on their religious beliefs, making for an unpleasant work environment.
This type of harassment is not permissible by management in a workplace. In fact, if a co-worker or a customer seeks to make an environment hostile due to hateful comments directed at a worker’s religious beliefs, management is expected to do something about it. There are specific terms that may be used, such as “ragheads” and “Bible thumpers,” that provide proof that there is illegal hostility present towards an employee or employees.
It is often accommodation that becomes the issue in cases of religious discrimination. Employers must provide sufficient accommodation of employees’ practices when it comes to religion, but not to the extent that the employer will suffer “undue hardship.”
There are some religions that do not allow working on the Sabbath, but it is a requirement by an employer to get the job done. The employer may be able to offer an alternative solution to this type of situation. In some situations, the employee may have to accept that if he or she is unable to work on a day because their religion forbids them, they may not be able to continue with the job. On occasions there are bona fide requirements for a job that an employer can demand, but in some situations an accommodation can be easily made without causing any problems for the employer. Accommodation issues are common when specific religious observances arise.
According to federal law, the term “undue hardship” as it applies to accommodation can be interpreted to indicate any situation in which the employer has to bear any more than a minimal cost. The law as it applies to Human Rights in New York has been amended recently. The amendment helps to define more clearly and strengthen the meaning of “undue hardship.” Undue hardship as it now stands according to the amended New York law can only be considered when the employer faces a significant increase in expense or difficulty. The amendment basically provides a standard for undue hardship which requires employers to provide a greater degree of accommodation based on religious practice.
If you have experienced any sort of discrimination or harassment because of your religion at work or your employer has not provided a reasonable amount of accommodation for your beliefs, then you should contact the New York religious discrimination attorneys at The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP.
We understand how religious matters in the workplace can become a sensitive issue. Many employees are reluctant to let their religion compromise their position at work, but you should not have to do this. Contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation.