Federal and state legislation prohibit any sort of deliberate religious discrimination in the workplace against an employee. Workers who have experienced religious discrimination which is illegal under federal or state laws have the right to file a complaint with their employer and failing that, a federal or state agency.
Religious discrimination may involve refusing to hire, provide correct wages, overtime or promotion to an employee because of their religion.
Employees who have brought their case to the attention of a government agency without resolution may be given permission to sue their employer for breach of discrimination laws.
Reporting Religious Discrimination at Work
Before you decide to file a complaint with an official body, you should try and resolve the issue with your employer first if you can. It is advisable to do this in writing, so you have proof that you have made the effort, setting out why you think you have experienced religious discrimination and providing enough evidence to support your assertion. Make sure you retain any correspondence you have with your employer/HR department. If you do not get any satisfactory response and the discrimination you have experienced doesn’t diminish or go away completely, then you have the right to take the matter to an official anti-discrimination watchdog to investigate.
Reporting Religious Discrimination to the EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission is the federal agency that has the responsibility of investigating breaches of federal anti-discrimination legislation like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 and amendments which prohibits religious discrimination. The EEOC will investigate complaints of discrimination by employees in the larger workplaces, i.e. those with 15 or more workers.
Assuming that you don’t succeed convincing your employer about the discrimination you have been facing, you should file a complaint with the nearest EEOC office. You can do this online, by phone or in person. You need evidence to support your complaint.
Reporting Religious Discrimination to Your State
State civil rights legislation parallels federal laws and in some case, maybe even stricter. Religious discrimination in the workplace is illegal in almost every state in the country. State civil rights departments or labor departments are the agencies to contact if you work in a workplace too small for the EEOC to deal with. The procedure is similar to that of the EEOC and generally state agencies have a work share agreement with the EEOC so will cooperate when there is a particularly egregious case of religious discrimination.
What to Have When Reporting Religious Discrimination
Both state and federal anti-discrimination agencies will want to see evidence of your complaint, so you should provide this with your complaint form. For example, provide copies of any correspondence you have had with your employer, statements from co-workers confirming your complaint, etc.
Speak With an Employment Law Attorney
Employers cannot discriminate against their employees just because of their religious affiliation. Breach of federal or state laws may lead to penalties, and compensation for the employee who brings their complaint to the EEOC or equivalent state body. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with an independent employment law attorney who subscribes to the website and may be able to help with your case.