The New York Human Rights Law, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 2964 protect employees from discrimination on the basis of their religious beliefs. Religion in the employment setting includes not only established religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism, but also sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs. Employers are not allowed to discriminate based on religion, which means that employers cannot refuse to hire, deny promotions, fire people, or take other adverse employment actions that are driven by animosity towards an individual’s religion.
Title VII prohibits workplace or job segregation based on religion (including religious garb and grooming practices), such as assigning an employee to a non-customer contact position because of actual or feared customer preference.
Employers are required to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer’s business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion. Accommodation issues often arise with scheduling around particular religious observances.
Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices. Under the federal Civil Rights Act, an undue hardship for purposes of accommodation is interpreted to mean anything that has more than a minimal cost to the employer.
If your employer discriminates against you because of your religion or refuses to provide you with a reasonable accommodation of your religious beliefs, please contact us to determine whether you have a legal claim.