If you are a person of faith, there may be many aspects of your life that you are not willing to compromise. The way you live and express your faith is deeply personal, and the freedom to practice and worship as you choose is one of the protections the U.S. government provides. However, you may not always experience this freedom in the workplace.
You should be aware that when your Colorado employer or coworkers mistreat you because of your religion, they are violating your rights. This is a form of discrimination prohibited by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and you have every right to seek legal advice and advocacy to learn the most appropriate options to take in this situation.
Examples of religious discrimination
Religious discrimination can take many forms, but the overarching rule is that your beliefs should not be the cause of unfavorable treatment on the job. Whether you belong to a traditional organized religion — such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism or others — or you hold strong moral, ethical or religious beliefs apart from a traditional sect, you have the right to fair and respectable treatment at work. This includes any of the following circumstances and others:
- The hiring, firing or layoff process
- Your wages
- Consideration for promotions
- Job assignments, including whether you will have contact with customers
- Opportunities for training
You should also expect your employer to provide an environment where coworkers will not harass you based on your faith or the religion of a family member. This includes constant insults, offensive humor beyond an isolated incident or hostility directed at you or your religion.
Accommodations for your religious expression
You may need some simple accommodations on the job to practice your religion faithfully. This may include allowances in the dress code for hair or grooming, relaxed prohibitions against head coverings, adjusted schedules for religious observances or a private place to recite daily prayers. As long as these accommodations do not present a hardship to your employer, cost your employer an excessive amount of money, or create a danger to you or your coworkers, your employer should agree to your request for accommodations.
However, if you feel you are the victim of religious discrimination on the job, you should not have to endure the mistreatment without speaking up. Before you approach your employer, you may wish to reach out to an attorney who can advise you on the laws and how they pertain to your situation.