How religious discrimination and workplace retaliation collide

Many people find their religion extremely important to them, whether they have recently adopted their religion or were raised by a long lineage of religious believers. 

In many cases, holding a religious belief shouldn’t harm anyone in the workplace. Workplaces may even provide accommodations if a religious belief requires someone to pray at a specific time or causes a dietary restriction – so long as the accommodations do not affect the business harshly or prove to be a safety hazard. 

Observing your religious faith at work shouldn’t be difficult, yet someone may make a big deal out of your beliefs. Here’s what you should know:

You are free to believe (or not believe) as much as the next person

Not everyone is understanding of other people’s beliefs, nor do they always understand boundaries. Some people may find their religious beliefs – or lack thereof — conflict with your beliefs. This can be problematic when someone wants to criticize you and your faith – especially when that someone is your co-worker or boss.

When someone feels offended or personally attacked because of your faith, they may discriminate against you. Religious discrimination can even lead an employer to retaliate against you over requests for accommodations for your faith or over complaints about being mistreated over your faith.

Workplace retaliation is often an attempt to push an employee out of the workplace unlawfully, and it often is tied into discrimination of some sort. This may be done so your employer doesn’t have to give you unemployment. You may notice an employer is retaliating against you because of your beliefs when you notice:

  • Unnecessary and inappropriate commentary on your religion
  • An unexpected pay decrease or loss of promotion
  • Altered duties that overwork you or discredit your skills
  • Performance reviews with unattainable goals

There are laws put in place to reduce workplace discrimination (against religions, gender, disabilities, race, color, sexual preferences and age) and further prevent retaliation against employees. If believe that your religious beliefs have made you a target for your employer’s wrath and fear you are facing retaliation then you should know your legal options

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