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Religious discrimination laws in the workplace are complex

Religious beliefs are held closely by some people. When people who have specific religious beliefs are looking for a job, employers can't hold those beliefs against them. Employers can't use those beliefs as the basis to bypass them during the hiring process or to fire them if they are already employed by the employer. There are some very specific guidelines that employees should be aware of when it comes to religious discrimination.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is what covers religious discrimination. This act requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for employees with religious beliefs as long as doing so doesn't place an undue hardship on the employer.

There is some leeway for employers who claim that an employee's religious beliefs place an undue hardship on the company. Higher than normal administrative costs is one example of an undue hardship. Another would be if religious beliefs, such as the need for time off, would interfere with a seniority system for shifts if that system is already in place.

Employers have to walk a fine line when it comes to hiring practices, testing and similar activities. Examinations and other similar activities can't take place if they are in conflict with the religious beliefs of a prospective or current employee. Asking about future availability, refusing to observe religious holidays and keeping restrictive dress codes are some examples of things that employers can't do unless they place an undue hardship on the employer.

It is easy to see how the law governing religious discrimination can be difficult to interpret. If you feel you have been subjected to religious discrimination by a current or prospective employer, you should seek to understand how the law pertains to your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Facts About Religious Discrimination," accessed July 08, 2015

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