Religious Discrimination at the Workplace

As religious beliefs at the workplace becomes more diverse, there’s a greater chance for claims of religious discrimination. An employer needs to be aware of this and set policies in place to make sure all employees are treating each other (and customers) with respect, no matter their particular beliefs.

With society’s ever-growing religious diversity, it is important for organizations to understand how to provide a work environment free of religious discrimination.

According to the EEOC:

In fiscal year 2014 the EEOC received 3,549 charges alleging discrimination on the basis of religion.  These charges represent a slight decrease from the past few years but remain significantly above the numbers from before fiscal year 2007.  The top issues alleged in religion charges are Discharge, Harassment, Terms and Conditions of Employment, and Reasonable Accommodation.  EEOC also realized 268 settlements and 34 successful conciliations from 3,575 resolutions in fiscal year 2014.

The EEOC has filed 68 lawsuits since the beginning of fiscal year 2010 involving claims of religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  During the same period the Commission recovered approximately $4 million, as well as important injunctive and other case-specific “make whole” relief, for victims of religious discrimination.

Read the full article at the EEOC website.

Can you express religious views at work?  Of course, but as the business owner or manager you also have a responsibility to make sure employees don’t “pick on”, belittle, tease, or mock those who have differing beliefs from theirs.

Steps you should take: Familiarize yourself with the guidelines the EEOC provides on how to avoid religious discrimination:

Best Practices, according to the EEOC, on how to avoid religious discrimination at the workplace:

What is religious discrimination? EEOC offers a lengthy explanation of what (and isn’t) considered discrimination in the workplace:

Do you have a written policy against religious discrimination? Such a policy is included in all professionally-designed Employee Handbooks. If you want to learn more about how much it costs to get an employee handbook for your business, see a recent post by HR Quick Answers about the subject: What does it cost to get an Employee Handbook?

(This article is based on one originally published by HR Quick Answers. Republished with permission.)

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