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Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

There are various Federal, New York State and New York City laws that protect employees from religious discrimination on the basis of their religious beliefs. Even if a particular employee's religious beliefs are not entirely compatible with work hours, workplace practices or certain days of the week, employers MUST work with the employee to try and accommodate him/her.

The reasonable accommodation standard under the framework of a religious discrimination claim is somewhat different from that analysis under a disability claim. An employer has an obligation to reasonably accommodate a "sincerely held" religious belief. The difficulty arises in determining what exactly is or is not "sincerely held."

The reasonable accommodation standard is subject to an employer claiming undue hardship, which means that it would conflict with legitimate business interests.

Religious discrimination in the workplace does not happen openly in front of many witnesses. It does, however, still exist and we must work to put an end to it and to celebrate the concept of religious freedom on which our country was founded.

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