Has your employer discriminated against you due to your religious beliefs or practices? Have you been fired or demoted as a result of your religious creed? Our Orange County religious discrimination attorneys can help you sue your employer for wrongful termination and help you obtain a monetary settlement for damages.
Contact us for a consultation to discuss your potential claim of employment religious discrimination. We provide legal representation to Fullerton, Irvine, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and Laguna residents.
Overview of California’s Religious Discrimination Laws
Under California State law, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on his or her religious beliefs. Employers are in fact required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees to practice their religion as long as the employee does not cause the employer “undue” hardship.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers of five or more persons from discriminating against or harassing an applicant or employee because of religious creed.
Under FEHA, unlawful discrimination includes actions based on an employer’s perception that an applicant or employee has a religious creed, or on the applicant or employee’s association with another person who has, or is perceived to have, a religious creed. See CAGov. Code Sec. 12900 et seq.
Under California’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act, religious dress and religious clothing are also included within the definition of “religious belief” and “religious observance.” Additionally, “religious creed,” “religion,” “religious observance,” and “religious belief” include all aspects of religious belief, observance, and practice.
Types of Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
Religious discrimination usually involves treating an employee or job applicant unfavorably due to their religious practices or a lack thereof. Religious anti-discrimination laws in California not only protect people who belong to organized religions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or Judaism, but individuals who have deeply held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs.
In the workplace, California State law prohibits religious discrimination when it comes to hiring, firing, paying, promoting, or transferring an employee (or any other condition of employment). It is illegal to harass, segregate, or provide unreasonable accommodations to employees due to their religious beliefs.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. The Act also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee, unless to do so would create an undue hardship upon the employer (see also 29 CFR l605).
For example, an employer or agent acting on behalf of the employer cannot make any type of offensive remarks about a person’s religious beliefs or practices. Note, the harassment must be frequent and severe. The law does not provide a remedy for isolated incidents of harassment.
How to File a Religious Discrimination Claim in California
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing enforce antidiscrimination claims.
You must first file your discrimination claim with one of the two agencies in order to obtain validation to sue (based on the agencies findings, you will receive a letter detailing whether you have standing to sue your employer in civil court – state or federal).
Depending on the nature of your case, it may be in your best interest to file your claim with the EEOC in order to later bring an action in federal court alleging that your employer violated a federal law or statute.
We invite you to contact us to discuss your religious discrimination case with the Orange County Employment Law Attorneys at Smaili & Associates, P.C.