America boasts religious freedom for people of every faith, and claims to protect people's right to freely practice whatever faith they choose. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that many people often find that their employer either actively disdains their chosen faith or refuses to properly accommodate their practice.
Here in Minnesota, we have some deep faith traditions that offer many great strengths to our community. However, there are still some who face religious discrimination in the workplace, especially our Muslim and Hindu neighbors, and other faiths from the Middle East and Asia.
The country as a whole is in the middle of great turmoil about how faith should inform our public actions, and that debate is far from settled. Still, there is no justification for discriminatory treatment in the workplace.
If you practice a faith such as Islam or Hinduism, which is often misunderstood and subjected to discrimination, your rights deserve protection the same as anyone else's. Do not hesitate to seek out an attorney who understands the value of religious rights and knows just how to defend them.
Different forms of discrimination are all harmful
Broadly speaking, your employer may discriminate against your religion or your faith practice in three general ways. Your employer may take actions that specifically treat you differently, take actions impact you more heavily, or may encourage a hostile work environment.
If an employer treats you differently because of your faith, this is an obvious form of discrimination. This might mean that an employer repeatedly gives you unfavorable work assignments that do not correspond to your performance reviews, or may mean that an employer refuses to promote you (or even hire you at all) because of your faith.
Similarly, if an employer maintains policies or business practices that conflict with your faith, then this may indicate discrimination of different impact. For instance, if your employer has a policy against certain kinds of clothing or requires employees to wear a uniform that conflicts with your faith but does not affect others, discrimination of different impact may be in play.
An employer may also encourage or allow a hostile work environment for employees of certain faiths. If you regularly face ridicule because of your faith from other employees, and your employer does not discourage that behavior, this might be a hostile work environment.
In addition to these general forms of discrimination, an employer may simply refuse to accommodate your religious practices. This might mean that an employer does not allow you to take time to pray throughout the day, or orders you to handle specific products or food that your faith frowns upon.
Understanding and documenting these forms of discrimination can be difficult, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your efforts are fruitful.
Build a strong team to fight for your religious rights
As any person of faith can tell you, it is often difficult to practice your faith earnestly. This can be especially true living in a country like America where so many faiths coexist. As a person of faith, you must consider carefully how to practice your closely held beliefs without harming others, and you must also fight for justice when someone violates your religious rights.
With the guidance of an experienced attorney who cares deeply about the rights of people of faith, you can ensure that your rights remain secure while you stand up for what you believe is right and true.