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Religious discrimination: 6 prohibited actions

The United States was founded on the idea of freedom of religion, and that must be reflected in the workplace. Employees all have a right to practice any religion that they so choose and employers cannot discriminate against them based on these decisions.

But what does that discrimination look like? Below are six examples of prohibited actions to watch out for. An employer cannot:

  1. Refuse to hire someone based on their religion.
  2. Refuse to give that person promotions when they are otherwise deserved.
  3. Make employees of a specific religion follow work requirements that are different from employees of another religion.
  4. Make it harder for employees of that religion to flourish in the workplace by getting raises, promotions and the like.
  5. Refuse to consider a prospective employee based on their religion or, if that religion isn't known, based on their name. Some names are strongly linked to specific religions and they should not influence employers in any way.
  6. Refuse to make reasonable accommodations for employees so that they can observe their religion in the workplace. The only exception to this is when those accommodations would, for one reason or another, create an undue hardship for the company or the employer.

Like all types of discrimination, it's important to know what signs to watch out for. Remember that employers may try to hide this discrimination and make it look like they're treating employees fairly when they aren't. These cases can get very complex and discrimination may be more difficult to prove than you would suspect, so it is critical that you know exactly what legal options you have.

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