Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination in employment is unlawful.

Religious discrimination includes discrimination based on an individual’s religion, religious belief, religious practices, or religious observances.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law, and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act [CADA], prohibit religious discrimination. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, labor organizations, and employment agencies. CADA applies to employers with one or more employees.

Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to an employee’s or applicants’ religion, religious belief, religious practices, or religious observances.

Discriminatory Actions

Unlawful discrimination includes adverse actions because of a person’s religion, religious practice, or observances, concerning hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

An employer’s unlawful discrimination includes:

  • Preference. An employer cannot act because of a bias against, or a preference for, an employee or applicant based on religion. Examples include, an employer: (1) refusing to hire an applicant because she does not share the employer’s religious beliefs; or (2) refusing to hire an applicant because the applicant would need a reasonable accommodation for his religious practices.

  • Association. An employer cannot act based on an individual’s association with a group or a person practicing a specific religion. For example, an employer cannot discharge an employee because of the employer’s bias against the specific religious practices of a member of the employee’s family.

  • Stereotype. An employer cannot discriminate against an individual because of religious stereotype. For example, an employer cannot refuse to hire an applicant because the employer believes a false stereotype linking the applicant’s religious belief with a negative trait or characteristic, i.e. the employer believes that persons practicing the same religion as the applicant engage in violent and unlawful conduct and therefore the employer refuses to hire employee.

  • Limiting, segregating, or classifying employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his or her status because of such individual’s race.

  • Customer preference. An employer cannot engage in unlawful religious discrimination based on the bias or prejudice of customers, clients, or employees.

Reasonable Accommodation

An employer is required to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, and observances of an applicant or employee, unless the employer the can prove that the accommodation would cause the employer to suffer an undue hardship.

Retaliation

An employer cannot retaliate against any person by taking a materially adverse action because the individual engaged in opposition to a practice made unlawful, i.e. religious discrimination; or for having engaged in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under a law prohibiting religious discrimination.

An employer cannot retaliate against a person for requesting and/or receiving a reasonable accommodation for his religion, religious belief, religious practice, or religious observances.

Harassment/Hostile Work Environment

An employer may not subject an individual to harassment and/or a hostile work environment because of the person’s religion, religious beliefs, or religious practices or observances, or lack of beliefs, practices, and observances.

Conclusion

Murray Law welcomes the opportunity to provide legal counsel and representation to any person who believes that she has been deprived of the right to be free from religious discrimination in employment. Please contact Steven Murray at 720-600-6642.

Resource

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] provides guidance, explanation, and discussion concerning religious discrimination. See https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm

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