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RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION

Workplace discrimination on the basis of religion is a prohibited practice under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under the Illinois Human Rights Act. A worker cannot be treated differently, unfairly or harassed by supervisors, coworkers, prospective employers, and third parties in the workplace solely based on the worker’s religious affiliations. These protections apply not only to workers who believe in and practice well-known and well-organized religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc., but these protections also apply to workers who have sincerely held beliefs in less popular or unconventional religions as well, such as Scientology, Wicca, or Mormonism.   

Religious discrimination can be based on a number of attributes of a worker. For instance, your religious activities, daily prayer, religious rituals that must be observed during the work day, clothing or religious garb or head coverings, associations with others of a particular religious group, or attendance at a particular religious establishment or place of worship, might indicate to other workers your religious beliefs. This information about you and your religious beliefs and practices, however, cannot be used to discriminate against you in the workplace.

Legal Protections Against Religious Workplace Discrimination

Both state and federal law protect most workers in Illinois from workplace discrimination and harassment on the basis of the worker’s religious beliefs. Specifically, the Illinois Human Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provide these protections.

  • Illinois Human Rights Act. Under state law, all public employers and all public contractors are prohibited from discriminating against a worker based on the worker’s religious beliefs. This law similarly applies to private employers who employ more than 15 employees. Employers who fall under the provisions of the Illinois Human Rights Act also are prohibited from retaliating against a worker who files a harassment or discrimination claim.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Federal law provides protection against workplace discrimination on the basis of religion when workers are employed by an employer who has fifteen or more employees. In fact, federal law, as a general rule, requires employers to make reasonable religious accommodations for employees with particular religious beliefs, unless such accommodation would place an undue hardship on the business. Undue hardships include demonstration that the religious accommodation is costly, decreases workplace efficiency, compromises worker or workplace safety, or infringes on the rights of other workers (i.e., other workers cannot be forced to participate in religious activities at work).

These laws protects against workplace discrimination on the basis of religion with regard to:

  • Hiring, recruitment or promotion.
  • Renewal or employment.
  • Firing, disciplining, or demotion.
  • Assignment of certain job tasks or positions.
  • Denial of privileges that other workers have.
  • Selection for training or career development opportunities.

Employers who fall under the provisions of these laws are also prohibited from retaliating against a worker who files a harassment or discrimination claim.

Call Now For A Free Initial Consultation

The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline can help you deal with your workplace discrimination or harassment claims based on your religion.  Contact our Chicago, Illinois sexual harassment lawyers today for a free consultation.