As an employee, your religion should never have any impact on your job. Unfortunately, there are times when a person is treated unfavorably as the result of his or her religious beliefs.
Here’s the good thing: There are laws in place to protect people of all organized religions, including but not limited to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
It’s also important to note that religious discrimination can come into play when a person is treated differently because of his or her affiliation with an individual of a particular religion, such as a spouse.
Types of workplace religious discrimination
Just like any other form of workplace discrimination, there are many types to become familiar with.
The law forbids an employer to discriminate in regard to: hiring, terminating employment, job assignments, pay scale, layoffs, promotions and benefits among any other term of the employment.
What about harassment?
It should go without saying that religious discrimination and harassment is also illegal.
There are many forms of religious harassment, such as teasing a person because of his or her religion, making offhand comments, and asking a person to change his or her religion to better fit in.
Who can harass or discriminate?
It’s a common misconception that only a supervisor or company owner can be the harasser. When it comes to religious discrimination, this person can be a supervisor, co-worker, client, customer, or anyone else you come in contact with during your workday.
Segregation is a problem
Rather than terminate an employee as the result of his or her religion, some companies believe it’s okay to segregate the individual from the rest of the company. According to Title VII, this is also prohibited.
Employers are not permitted by law to assign an employee to a non-customer facing position, for example, because of his or her religion.
What to do about it
If you have reason to believe you’ve been the victim of religious discrimination you should immediately report the behavior to your supervisor (or someone else if this is the person doing the harassing).
It’s your hope that bringing this to light will result in better days to come. Also, don’t hesitate to keep records related to the discrimination, as these may be useful in the future. If things don’t get better, you may have no choice but to learn more about your legal rights.