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Employment Discrimination in California Based on Religion

Have you been Discriminated or Retaliated Against based on your Religious Beliefs or Practices?

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on religion. Employees who are discriminated against based on their religion or religious beliefs can file a lawsuit against their employer for damages.

Religious discrimination and harassment can take many forms. Examples of religious discrimination include:

  • Refusing to hire or employ because of religion
  • Unfair treatment based on religious observances, dress, beliefs or grooming practices
  • Unfair hiring practices
  • Unfair job assignments
  • Undesirable hours or locations because of religion
  • Unequal access to training or promotion opportunities because of religion
  • Deny you equal pay, a promotion, training reinstatement or benefits based on religion
  • Harass or force you to quit because of religion

Religious dress and religious grooming practice are construed broadly in favor of the employee practicing his or her religion. This includes wearing or carrying of religious clothing, head or face coverings, jewelry, artifacts, or other items. Religious grooming includes forms of head, facial, and body hair that are part of the observance of an individual's religious creed.

Employers are also required to reasonably accommodate religious beliefs and observances. Employers have to provide reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs so long as the accommodation does not cause the employer “undue hardship,” which is hard for most employers to prove, as it includes accommodations that cause significant difficulty or expenses for the employer.

These protections from discrimination apply to all religions and even to perceived religions. This means that it is still considered religious discrimination to treat someone differently even if the individual is not actually of the religion they are believed to be.

Can you be Discriminated Against for Lack of Religious Beliefs?

Protections from religious creed discrimination also applies to a lack of religious creed. Under California law, religious creed discrimination may be established by showing: (a) Employment benefits have been denied, in whole or in part, because of an applicant's or employee's religious creed or lack of religious creed. (b) The employer or other covered entity has failed to reasonably accommodate the applicant's or employee's religious creed despite being informed by the applicant or employee or otherwise having become aware of the need for reasonable accommodation. (c) Religious creed is a protected category under the Act, and the examples of unlawful conduct provided in this section are non-exclusive.

What If I am Fired for Reporting or Complaining of Religious Discrimination?

California workers cannot be retaliated against for opposing workplace discrimination. The FEHA protects employees who are retaliated against for opposing or reporting religious discrimination.

Firing an employee for filing a harassment or discrimination claim is illegal wrongful termination. If an employer retaliates against an employee for reporting FEHA violations or other employment law violations, the employee may be able to file a lawsuit against the employer for retaliation or wrongful termination.

Damages and Recovery for Religious Discrimination and Harassment

If you believe you have been the target of religious discrimination or have been harassed because of your religion, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the following:

  • Front Pay
  • Back Pay
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorneys’ fees and costs

Religious discrimination and harassment situations can have a severely negative impact on the quality of your life and are not only unfair to you, but also to your coworkers. An employee may also eligible to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are a way to punish the behavior of the wrongdoer and act as a way to deter the employer or other employers from engaging in similar wrongful behavior in the future.

Should I file a Complaint for Religious Discrimination or Harassment?

The experienced employment law attorneys at FL can assist with all aspects of your case and represent you in court should you elect to file a complaint. Contact us today so that we can provide you with a free case evaluation.

All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t owe us anything unless you win!

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