For some people, their religious beliefs mean more than anything else in life. These beliefs serve as the fuel that empowers them to endure every challenge that comes their way. In a workplace setting, employers should consider these things in order not to discriminate against religious employees.
Unfortunately, discrimination based on religion has become one of the most common complaints that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives every year. Under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Title VII, discrimination based on religion is prohibited in the workplace. Following are some actions and situations that employers should prevent:
- Unequal treatment to certain employees because of their religion
- Obligatory attendance of employees to religious practices as a requirement for employment
- Retaliation against employees who have filed formal complaints with the EEOC based on Title VII
While trying their best to avoid committing such actions, employers also have the responsibility to carry out special tasks concerning their employees. Here are some of them:
- Providing reasonable accommodations to their employees who have religious beliefs â€“ Employers may accommodate to their employees' religious beliefs by giving them special day-offs whenever necessary. However, an employer may be exempted from this if he can prove that such accommodations would cause undue hardship to the company. This means that the business interests of the company would be much affected by the demanded accommodation.
- Exhausting all possible ways to prevent religious discrimination in the workplace â€“ Employers should ensure that no one in the workplace would discriminate against the employee. Aside from avoiding committing offensive actions against the employee, employers should make sure that his other employees would do the same.
Employees who have been discriminated against by anyone in the workplace may file a complaint provided that they meet certain conditions. These are some of the factors that would make their complaints valid:
- The complainant should have a religion that is not accepted in his company.
- He informed his employer about the problem, but he did not take any action.
- He experienced adverse employment actions such as wage deductions, demotions, layoffs or termination because of his religion.
As the EEOC reports, the number of religious discrimination disputes have increased significantly over the past few years due to the increasing racial and cultural diversity among U.S. societies. This is an alarming situation as employers are not only committing discriminatory actions against their employees alone, but against specific religious sectors and minorities as a whole.