Agnostic individuals openly declare that they know nothing about a higher power. Atheists reject the idea of a sentient higher power. Both agnostic and atheist individuals likely forego any sort of organized religious celebrations.
In theory, atheists or agnostic individuals are good for businesses to retain as employees because they will not require certain days off for religious holidays or any other sort of faith-based employment accommodations. However, managers, business owners and even human resources professionals may have a negative attitude toward workers who do not belong to a faith.
Can those without religious beliefs experience religious discrimination in the workplace?
Yes, companies can discriminate against agnostic and atheist workers
Just as an employer could factor in a worker’s faith and their request for certain days off to participate in their religion into employment decisions and discriminate against a worker for what they believe, so too can they discriminate against an employee who is open about not having any religious beliefs.
Supervisors and human resources professionals might choose their non-religious employees as the first to let go when downsizing or might give preferential treatment to those who belong to the same faith as them when it comes time to move someone into a new position or address the wages that workers make.
Especially when the person making employment decisions is open about their faith and its important to them, non-religious workers who see their career advancements stall out may start to question if it is their performance that holds them back or if it is actually discrimination.
How do non-religious workers prove they endured discrimination?
Keeping records of when your employer makes snide remarks about you not attending Sunday services or putting together a list of every project, raise and promotion you didn’t receive despite being as qualified as or more qualified than those who did experience career advancement.
Showing a pattern of behavior that prioritizes people of a specific faith over others or that denies those who belong to a different faith or who reject religion opportunities could be a starting point for a worker facing unfair workplace treatment because of their beliefs or lack thereof.
Realizing that those who do not belong to a specific faith and experience religious discrimination can help employees better stand up for themselves.