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How to File a Lawsuit for Religion Discrimination in New York

Defending Your Employee Rights in New York

The founding documents of the United States protect Americans in the free exercise of religion. More recently, federal laws as well as New York State laws protect those religious rights in the workplace. Except where it would create an unreasonable burden, your employer or prospective employer is required by law to accommodate your religious practice whenever possible.

Religious discrimination in the workplace can take place in a number of ways, such as:

  • Derogatory comments or depictions regarding members of your religion that lead to the existence of a hostile work environment
  • Scheduling important tests or selection exercises for times that conflict with an employee's religious practice, such as on a Sabbath day
  • Preventing you from having contact with clients because of religious wear such as a turban, head covering, or yarmulke
  • Forbidding certain hairstyles or clothing related to your religion, such as Rastafarian dreadlocks, Sikh long hair and beard, or a Mennonite head covering
  • Terminating an employee for taking time off work in observance of a religious holiday when that employee followed the proper protocol for requesting leave
  • Mandatory employee programs that involve "new age" concepts such as meditation, yoga, and other practices that are in conflict with your religious beliefs
  • Refusal to accommodate certain religious practices, such as daily prayer or Sabbath observance, when doing so would not present an "unreasonable burden" to the employer
  • Denying employment, promotion, pay raises, or other benefits to employees based on their religious beliefs and practice

Reasonable accomodation & "Sincerely Held" Belief

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.

Call a New York Religious Discrimination attorney today!

If your religious rights have been violated at your place of work, do not hesitate to retain the services of a New York employment law attorney who can protect those rights fiercely and effectively. At Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP, we are passionate about ensuring that our clients' employee rights are upheld. To learn more about or firm and our track record of success in employment discrimination cases, contact Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP today.