Religion is an important aspect of many people’s lives. What religion you choose to practice is an extremely personal choice, and whatever your faith is, you shouldn’t have to worry about being treated unfairly for it. While New York City employees are protected from discrimination based on religion, it still occurs. Some employees may not know whether or not protection from religious discrimination applies to them and the religion they practice.
If you believe you’re the target of religious discrimination in your workplace, you need to understand what protections you have. Bantle & Levy can help you understand and defend your employee rights.
Who Is Protected from Religious Discrimination?
Federal, New York State, and New York City laws protect employees from religious discrimination in the workplace. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees and the New York City Human Rights Law applies to employers with four or more employees, while the New York State Human Rights Law has no employee threshold.
Under Title VII, religion includes traditional organized religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. However, employees who practice these common organized religions are not the only ones protected from religious discrimination.
Religious beliefs do not have to be part of a formal church or related to traditional concepts of religion. Those with unique or uncommon religious beliefs also have the right to be free from discrimination. Discrimination laws protect those with “sincerely held” religious beliefs, regardless of how many other people share these beliefs. According to Title VII, “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.” Moral and ethical beliefs regarding what is right and wrong that are as sincerely held as religious beliefs are also protected.
Additionally, protection from religious discrimination also applies to those with no religious beliefs. Employees are also protected from discrimination based on their perceived religious beliefs and their association with someone with particular religious beliefs.
What Isn’t Considered a Religious Belief?
While what is considered a religious belief may seem broad, Title VII does provide guidance on what isn’t considered a religious belief. Social, political, or economic philosophies and personal preferences are not considered religious beliefs under Title VII. Because of this, not all strongly held beliefs are protected. Religious beliefs are typically those that concern ultimate ideas about life, purpose, and death. Additionally, what is considered a religious practice depends on the motivation for the practice, not the practice itself. An activity may be religious for one employee, but not related to religion for another employee who engages in the same activity.
New York City Religious Discrimination Attorneys
Your religious beliefs are a vital part of who you are but should never affect how you’re treated in the workplace. You have the right to be free of discrimination in all aspects of employment. However, this form of discrimination still occurs for employees with a range of religions or religious beliefs. At Bantle & Levy, our religious discrimination attorneys are experienced in protecting the rights of employees in New York City. We’re dedicated to defending your right to be free of discrimination.
Contact us today if you’re facing discrimination or harassment for your religious beliefs.