Though society has come a long way in accepting different beliefs, there continue to be instances of workplace harassment and religious discrimination.
When you go to work, you expect to be in a safe and tolerant environment. When colleagues or your employer engage in discrimination against your religion, you can file a complaint and seek damages.
Knowing how to address religious discrimination will help you ensure that responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.
Legal Protections Against Religious Discrimination
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed to protect religious freedoms and rights, including any aspect of religious observance.
Additionally, in 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which ensures no federal agency or state can pass laws that would restrain people from engaging in religious freedom or practices.
Examples of Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
Some of the most common manifestations of religious discrimination that can happen in the workplace include:
Dismissal Due to Religious Beliefs
Singling out and firing employees for practicing a certain religion is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, no employer can retaliate against or punish an employee for taking time off work to observe a religious holiday or celebration.
Harassment and Bullying
In some cases, employers engage in harassing behavior toward individuals based on their religious beliefs. No one should ever endure bullying or hate speech. If you are experiencing harassment over your religious beliefs, you can file a complaint and pursue legal action.
Failing to Provide Reasonable Accommodation
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires all employers to engage in reasonable accommodation for religious employees.
Employers must allow:
- Flexible scheduling
- Uniform or outfit accommodations
- Job reassignments
- Changes to policies that help accommodate religious practices
When employers fail to provide accommodations, they may be engaging in discrimination.
Filing a Discrimination Complaint in New Jersey
When you first encounter religious discrimination in the workplace, you should report the details of the incident to your supervisor or human resources department. Generally, employers will have policies regarding what actions to take in the event of workplace discrimination.
Should they fail to investigate or resolve the problem, you have every right to file a legal complaint.
If you work in New Jersey, you can report religious discrimination to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR). Complaints should be filed within 180 days of the alleged behavior.
The DCR will investigate the allegations and look for ways to remedy the matter in a way that holds the responsible parties accountable.
Some relief that the DCR may provide or facilitate include:
- Job reinstatement
- Damages for pain and humiliation
- Attorney’s fees
- Compensatory damages for discrimination
You may also file a discrimination complaint directly with the U.S. EEOC.
Filing a Discrimination Lawsuit
If you have been the victim of religious discrimination at work, you also have the legal ability to file a lawsuit and seek damages from your employer.
In New Jersey Superior Court, there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a formal complaint and present any relevant evidence of religious discrimination.
Civil rights lawsuits require a skillful employment law attorney to help you navigate the case and fight for your compensation.
New Jersey Religious Discrimination Attorneys
Religious beliefs are deeply personal and do not affect a person’s ability to complete tasks or perform job-related duties.
If you have been the victim of religious discrimination, NJ Employment Lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Every New Jersey employment law attorney on our team is dedicated to protecting your civil rights and combatting discrimination. Contact us today.