Religious Harassment and Discrimination In The Workplace
Religion has become a hot button issue in 2016, especially with the escalating presidential race. Many people in the United States have spoken up and shown intolerance of certain religions both online and in protest. However, no matter how tense religious relations may become, an employer should never allow such tensions to enter the workplace in the form of unlawful religious discrimination or harassment.
Both the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Florida Civil Rights Act strictly prohibit workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on an individual’s closely held religious beliefs. While employees should not be subjected to such unlawful behavior, acts of workplace religious discrimination unfortunately occur on a regular basis. For example, a study recently conducted at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that close to half of Muslim American doctors felt they had lost opportunities for the advancement of their careers or experienced increased scrutiny based on their religious beliefs.
Common Examples Of Religious Harassment and Discrimination
Religious harassment and discrimination can take place in any different forms. Some common examples include the following:
- Making offensive comments or gestures that create a hostile work environment;
- Requesting or demanding that an employee change their religious beliefs;
- Refusing to hire or promote an individual based on their religion;
- Denying a raise or a preferred job assignment based on an individual’s religion;
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious beliefs, such as allowing them to wear headgear or facial hair in accordance with their beliefs;
- Terminating someone because of their religion; and
- Taking any adverse employment action against someone because they complained of religious harassment or discrimination in the work environment.
If an employee notifies their employer about a possible unlawful situation, the employer has the legal duty to take steps meant to effectively stop the behavior. If the employer allows the offending behavior to continue, it can be held liable for any damages suffered by the victim. Even if the employer was not on notice about harassment, it may still be held responsible if the harassment came from a supervisor or person in authority.
Discrimination and harassment can not only lead to loss of income and financial losses, but also can cause significant emotional distress and can lead to constructive discharge. The damages available in religious discrimination and harassment cases depend on the particular situation, though can often be substantial.
If Your Rights Have Been Violated, Call A Florida Employment Law Attorney Today
No one should be subjected to unlawful harassment or discrimination in the workplace based on their religion or any other protected factor under federal or state law. If you believe that you have been the victim of religious harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, you should schedule a consultation with a highly experienced employment discrimination attorney in Plantation, Florida as soon as possible. Attorney Robert S. Norell, P.A., has assisted hundreds of employees in standing up for their rights against employment law violations. Please call today at 305-405-9243 for help.