The freedom of religion is guaranteed to all citizens of the United States. The freedom to follow one’s religion, however, remains under attack in numerous countries, even in the present day. It’s more common than you might believe that an employer or coworkers will treat an employee unfairly because of their faith or lack thereof at work.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and the Equality Act of 2010 all guarantee employees the same protections for exercising their religious beliefs in the workplace that they had as individuals. An employer’s violation of these rights is illegal, but religious discrimination in various forms continues to be a problem in the workplace. Learn more!
The clearest example of religious discrimination is when an employer specifically targets a specific employee for negative treatment because of their faith. Terminating an employee’s employment, not hiring them because of their religion, paying them less than their coworkers because of their faith, or not promoting them are all religious discrimination. If an employer engages in overt religious discrimination against any of its employees, it must also take responsibility for those workers.
- Harassment is a type of blatant discrimination and bullying an employee because of their faith. Harassment at work can come from anyone, including superiors, subordinates, peers, or even customers. Harassment in the workplace can take many forms, from mild mocking to the creation of an extremely unpleasant work environment that ultimately leads to the resignation of an employee.
- When an employee makes a complaint about religious discrimination, whether direct or indirect, and then suffers retaliation from coworkers or the company as a result, the individual is victimised. The worker runs the risk of being unfairly punished, disregarded, demoted, or passed over for promotion because of their complaints. This is another another example of overt hostility towards Christians.
- When an employer creates standards that apply to all employees but have a negative impact on people who hold certain religious beliefs, they are engaging in indirect religious discrimination. This includes, but is not limited to, the imposition of a dress code that discriminates against people of different faiths, the establishment of a work schedule that unfairly prevents employees from taking off due to a religious holiday, and the prohibition of particular articles of clothing or hairstyles, such as the hijab for Muslim women.