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How We Combat Religious Discrimination

Under state and federal law, most employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or prospective employees on the basis of an individual’s religious beliefs. Therefore, an employer may not make decisions as to hiring and firing, promotion, discipline, transfers, wages and benefits, work assignments and other terms, conditions or privileges of an individual’s employment because of the individual’s religion.

Employers today will rarely discriminate in an explicit manner. For example, if an employer fires an employee because of her religion, the employer will not typically acknowledge to the employee that she is being fired on account of her religion. The attorneys at Shay, Santee, Kelhart & Deschler LLC in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will investigate any such situation.

Federal Law Is On Your Side

However, just because discrimination is not open and obvious does not mean that it does not occur. One way an employee can prove discrimination on the basis of his or her religion is to show that other employees of a different religion who are similarly situated to the discriminated-against employee were treated differently. If you have suffered an adverse employment action such as a demotion or discharge, and similarly situated co-workers of a different religion who engaged in the same behavior did not suffer the adverse employment action, you may have a discrimination claim against your employer.

The federal statute that prohibits religious discrimination in employment is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The state-level Pennsylvania Human Relations Act also prohibits religious discrimination.

Accommodating Employees

Under Title VII, the term “religion” includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business. Religious beliefs include theistic beliefs as well as nontheistic moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.

In other words, the term religion encompasses atheism just as it encompasses traditional religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Additionally, while employers must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious observance or practice, this obligation is not very burdensome. Any cost or expense to the employer that is more than “de minimus” will be considered to be unreasonable.

We Will Listen, So Call Right Away

If you believe you have been discriminated against at work because of your religion, call an employment discrimination attorney at Shay, Santee, Kelhart & Deschler LLC in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, immediately to discuss your case. We can assist you in understanding your options and the strength of your case. Employees and prospective employees should be advised that there are strict and relatively short deadlines for filing a discrimination claim with the relevant state or federal agency. Do not lose your right to bring a claim and get the relief you deserve. Schedule an appointment with our attorneys or call 610-295-5328.