Religious Discrimination Lawyers
The right to freedom of religion is one of the fundamental rights the U.S. Constitution provides to all Americans. This freedom also extends to every workplace. Therefore, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against their employees based on the latter’s religion. If you or your loved one has been discriminated against based on your religious beliefs or association, religious discrimination lawyers in NYC can help protect your rights by holding the other party accountable for their actions.
What is Religious Discrimination?
Religious discrimination refers to treating an existing or potential employee unfavorably due to their religious beliefs. The unfair treatment might also target individuals affiliated with a certain religious group.
Religious discrimination cases in the workplace are not uncommon in the United States. For instance, in 2018, American package delivery giant UPS was ordered to pay up to $4.9 million as compensation following a class-action lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of several plaintiffs, alleged that the parcel delivery company prohibited male employees in certain positions from wearing beards or growing their hair below collar length. The lawsuit further alleged that the multi-billion company also failed to provide reasonable religious accommodations to its appearance policy and facilities across the country.
In addition, employees who appeared to violate this policy were required to work at the back of the store, restricting their contact with customers. Even so, they still could not maintain supervisory roles within the company.
From the above example, the employer violated their employee’s right to freedom of religion as provided by the American Constitution.
In 2021, global food company JBS Swift & Co. agreed to settle a $5.5 million lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission citing discrimination based on race, nationality, and religion at the company’s beef processing plant in Colorado.
The lawsuit alleged that in 2020, the company discriminated against workers who were either Muslim, black, or from Somalia. In addition, the lawsuit claimed that the company harassed Muslim employees, denying them their right to pray, even during bathroom breaks.
In Miami, Noble House Sole LLC was ordered to pay an employee up to $99,000 as compensation for religious discrimination. The lawsuit alleged that the resort hotel company based in Sunny Isles Beach terminated an employee’s contract when she requested Saturday off due to her religious beliefs.
Identifying Religious Discrimination
Since cases involving religious discrimination in the workplace vary, it is important that you understand some of the most common examples of such practices in the workplace. Other than the real-life examples provided earlier, here is what religious discrimination looks like in the workplace.
Your employer or colleague cannot harass you at work due to your religion or affiliation to a particular religion. For instance, your employer or colleague cannot make mean comments about your religion or association with members of a certain religion, even if they do so jokingly.
The law prohibits employers or colleagues from mistreating you or denying you opportunities due to your religious beliefs. It is also illegal for employers or colleagues to make general negative statements about your religious beliefs. So, for example, if you are a Muslim, your employer or colleague cannot accuse you of being anti-American.
Indirect Religious Discrimination
Most employers know that it is unlawful to discriminate against employees due to their religious beliefs. For this reason, some employers still practice religious discrimination in the workplace, but indirectly. Here are some common examples of indirect religious discrimination in the workplace:
- Requiring employees to wear a specific dress code while knowing that such policies could prevent certain employees from working for that particular employer
- Banning certain religious items such as the religious bracelet worn by Sikh men
- Setting work schedules that prevent employees from taking time off for religious observance (refer to the Miami case as an example)
Worker Rights and Protections Against Religious Discrimination in New York City
In New York City, the law protects workers against religious discrimination. For example, an employer cannot place you in roles that do not require direct contact with customers because your religion requires you to wear specific religious attire. Similarly, they cannot discriminate against you by placing you in roles that do not require direct interaction with customers because some customers are uncomfortable with your religious expression.
New York City workers also have a right to request that their employers provide reasonable accommodations based on their religious observances. For example, if you cannot go to work on a specific day for religious reasons, your employer cannot threaten to fire you. Instead, they should provide reasonable accommodations allowing you to work and practice your faith, as long as these accommodations do not cause an ‘undue hardship.’
Employees also have the right to request reasonable accommodations regarding the company’s dress codes. For instance, if the company does not allow employees to wear headgear while at work, employers with certain religious beliefs may request accommodations to wear religious headgear such as hijab, turbans, etc.
And finally, a New York City employer cannot retaliate against a worker who files a complaint with an administrative agency, court or seeks the help of NYC religious discrimination lawyers to address discrimination concerns in the workplace.
How to File a Religious Discrimination Claim in New York City
If you work in New York City and have a valid case against your employer, you may need the help of experienced religious discrimination lawyers to file a claim. At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., we have a combined 35-year experience handling different religious discrimination cases across the city and state. All you have to do is contact us to schedule a free case evaluation and consultation.
Choosing the Best Religious Discrimination Lawyer for Your Claim
If you are looking for religious discrimination lawyers NYC, you probably have a list of options to consider.
During the consultation, remember to ask the following questions:
- How long have they been practicing employment law in New York City?
- Have they handled similar cases in the past?
- How committed are they to pursuing your case?
- Who will work on your case? Is it the attorney you are talking to or another attorney?
How R&M Can Help With Your Religious Discrimination Claim
At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., protecting workers’ rights in Queens, Long Island City, Carle Place, Astoria, Bronx, Flushing, Jamaica, NY, Great Neck, Brooklyn, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the surrounding areas is all we do. When you contact us for a free case evaluation, we will let you know more about your legal options. And if you have a valid case against the employer, we will help you strengthen the case and file a claim on your behalf.
When pursuing your claim, you will not have to worry about complex paperwork, frustrating processes, ever-changing regulations, etc. We will handle all that and so much more for you. Call us today at 347-960-4383 for a consultation or contact us online, and we will get in touch with you within 24 hours.