Life in the United States comes with many freedoms. For one, people are free to choose and exercise their religion of choice without fear of discrimination. Unfortunately, there are some individuals in this country who have forgotten that this simple right exists.
While nobody should ever have to deal with discrimination, there is a chance that it will happen at some point. When it happens while the person is doing his or her job duties, there is a serious problem. Religious discrimination in the workplace is forbidden by federal law. Here are some points to know:
Religious discrimination is never allowable
Employers are held to a high standard when it comes to ensuring that people aren't being discriminated against based on their religion. It might shock some people to learn that even job applicants have protections regarding this type of action. Applications can't ask you what your religious beliefs are and this can't be asked in the interview. This does sometimes pose an issue, however, when there might be a need for a religious accommodation to be made at work. If you are in this position, it is best to find out when you should address your specific needs before you fill out an application or go in for an interview.
Accommodations might be necessary
Laws against religious discrimination require that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for closely held religious beliefs. In order to be required, it must not cause any undue hardship on the employer and it can't impact safety. Some of the more common ones that employees request include:
- Allowing dreadlocks for a Rastafarian.
- Granting a Jewish person permission to wear a yarmulke.
- Letting a Pentecostal woman wear a skirt.
- Permitting a Muslim person to wear a headscarf.
- Authorizing a Sikh man to have a long beard.
- Enabling a person to take off on specific religious holidays.
Status of the person discriminating
The status of the person who is discriminating against or harassing the person doesn't matter. Employers have to protect employees from this type of behavior at the hands of another employee, a vendor, a supervisor or a customer. The policies in place must make it clear that absolutely no discrimination or harassment based on religious beliefs or other protected statuses will be allowed. Employers who don't ensure this are subject to legal action and serious consequences.