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Religious Discrimination

New York Attorneys Advocating for Employee Rights

People have the right to practice any religion that they choose without fear of unjust treatment in the workplace. Still, it is a sad reality that many people are treated adversely by their employers because of their religious beliefs. Employees have numerous statutory protections against discrimination, however, and if they are treated unfairly because of their religious beliefs, they have the right to pursue damages. The New York religious discrimination lawyers at Gerstman Schwartz can inform you about your potential claims and aid you in pursuing a successful result under the facts of your case.

Protections From Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

State and federal laws prohibit religious discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) all state that it is unlawful discrimination for an employer to fire, refuse to hire, or discriminate against a person with respect to compensation, privileges, conditions, or terms of employment because of the person’s religion. Title VII also provides that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to segregate, classify, or limit employees in a manner that would deprive them of opportunities or negatively affect their employment because of their religious beliefs. Notably, protection from religious discrimination extends not only to well-known religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, but also to anyone who holds a sincere ethical, moral, or religious belief. A religious discrimination attorney in New York can advise you on whether your situation is likely covered.

Which statutory provisions apply in a religious discrimination claim depends on numerous factors, including the number of people working for the employer. Under the NYCHRL, an employee alleging religious discrimination must prove that he or she was treated less favorably than other employees, at least partly due to his or her religious beliefs. Title VII and the NYSHRL require greater proof of discrimination. Under either law, an employee must prove that he or she is a member of a protected class based on religion and that he or she was qualified for the position in question, but the employer took an action against him or her that negatively affected his or her employment. An employee must also show, via either direct or circumstantial evidence, that the employer’s behavior occurred under circumstances that could allow for an inference that the adverse treatment was motivated by a discriminatory intent.

Reasonable Accommodations for Religious Beliefs

The applicable laws also require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices or beliefs. This means that they must make adjustments to a job or work environment that will permit an employee to exercise his or her religious beliefs. A New York religious discrimination attorney can hold an employer accountable for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation. For example, if an employee does not want to work on Sundays due to religious beliefs, an employer may need to comply with the employee’s request. There are some exceptions, though. Specifically, under Title VII, an employer is exempt from the reasonable accommodation requirement if it would create more than a minimal burden on the operation of the employer’s business. Under the NYSHRL and the NYCHRL, an employer will not be required to provide an accommodation if it will impose an undue hardship on their business. The NYCHRL places the burden of proving an undue hardship on the employer and requires considering numerous factors in determining whether the burden has been met.

Consult a Capable New York Attorney

Many people have strong religious beliefs, and they should be permitted to practice their religion without fear of retribution in the workplace. At Gerstman Schwartz, our employment discrimination attorneys are proficient at helping mistreated employees protect their rights. If we represent you, the religious discrimination lawyers at our New York firm will zealously pursue any damages that you may be owed. We regularly represent people in religious discrimination claims against their employers in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You can contact us to schedule a meeting by calling our New York City office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170 or by using our form online.

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