Religious discrimination and bias are pervasive. In the current, extreme socio-political climate, certain groups and individuals have become emboldened to express, for example, anti-Semitic or Islamophobic statements. However, there is no room for these sentiments under Federal and North Carolina State Law. Our country was founded on principles of religious freedom, and every American has the right to be free from all manner of religious workplace discrimination. If you have experienced harassment or discriminatory treatment due to your religious or spiritual beliefs, please contact The Noble Law to learn more about your legal rights.
We are hardworking and dedicated employment lawyers. When you retain our services, you will find immediate legal and emotional support. We will always value your insights and goals for resolution. We prefer to keep an open line of communication between our clients and our North Carolina Religious Discrimination Attorneys, and we will support you from consultation to investigation, filing a charge, and recovering damages.
North Carolina and Federal Law prohibits workplace discrimination based on religious grounds
Protection against employee religious discrimination is found within Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which considers religion a protected class. The law states that religious discrimination occurs when a job applicant or employee is treated differently on the basis of their religious faith. The North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act (NCEEPA) also sets forth the public policy of the State of NC that private employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on- among other protected groups- religion.
Spotting religious discrimination in the workplace
Religious discrimination can manifest in the workplace in different ways and may include:
Though an isolated teasing or offhand remark may not rise to the level of harassment, such treatment is illegal if the frequency or severity of the comments creates a hostile work environment. Further, it does not matter if the offender is your supervisor , co-worker, client, customer, or vendor, but in some instances the law may require you to report the harassment internally in order to preserve any claims you might have. It requires some investigation to determine whether the treatment meets the threshold of harassment. However, “isolated” events are often indicative of a much more sinister culture.
Segregation based on religious affiliation
Unfair occupational segregation occurs when employees are segregated based on their beliefs, practices, or grooming. Examples include assigning an employee to a non-public-facing role because they wear a Muslim hijab, a yarmulke, a dastār, (an item of headwear associated with Sikhism) or other religious garb. It is irrelevant whether employers do this because of actual or feared client preferences.
Refusal to accommodate religious beliefs
A religious accommodation is any adjustment to the workplace that allows you to practice your faith–if it does not create an undue hardship for your employer. According to the EEOC:
Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.
For example, an employer can offer flexibility to an employee’s schedule, so it does not conflict with a Sabbath day observance. If you have submitted a written request for accommodation that would not create an undue hardship for your employer or if the request was simply not taken seriously, it’s important to document the interaction and bring it to your attorney’s attention.
More examples of religious discrimination
Other forms of bias are commonly linked to faith-based prejudice. For example, a remark can impugn an individual’s religion and national origin. Such treatment can provide simultaneous grounds for a claim of discrimination by ethnic origin and religion under federal and North Carolina law.
Evidence of an employer’s violation of religious discrimination laws may appear in virtually any area of your job, including:
- Fringe benefits
Can I Complain About Religious Discrimination at Work?
Yes, you can. If you are experiencing religious discrimination in the workplace, have lost your job, been denied accommodations, or have missed a promotion, you are well within your rights to make your concerns known to your employer and report them to state and federal authorities.
Standing up for yourself against discrimination in the workplace is an exercise of your rights. Further, any form of retaliation by your employer, in addition to the discriminatory act itself, forms the basis for a separate charge. It is important to take swift action because there are strict statutes of limitation regarding such claims.
Call and Schedule a Confidential Consultation
Religious discrimination is against the law in the workplace. It is demeaning and harmful. If you are being subjected to such treatment, please contact us at the Noble Law to schedule a confidential consultation. We are ready to listen, and we want to help.