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Many people are not sure what constitutes religious discrimination in the workplace. There are many ways to discriminate against people; some are very obvious and others are more subtle.
The subtle discriminations are often hard to recognize and harder still to prove in a religious discrimination claim. Therefore, I will look primarily at more outward forms of religious discrimination. Religious discrimination is an adverse work treatment of an employee based on a class or category that the employee belongs to religious beliefs or practices rather than on the employee's individual merit. There is no official definition of harassment, but it can be described as being singled out because of your religion for mistreatment, particularly if it makes it harder to do your job. If you are harassed by your superiors, this is discrimination. There are two types of discrimination… Unequal treatment is when your employee shows preferences towards one religion or belief system. Harassment is when you are influenced by your employee to change or abandon your belief system. Religious discrimination includes, but is not limited to, the following: Firing an employee because of that employee' Religious beliefs. Loss of promotion due to one's Religion witness at work. Failure to give an employee a raise until the employee no longer spends free time (such as breaks or lunch) discussing religious beliefs with other employees. Harassment of employees because they wear religious clothing, such as a Turban on head, Veil to cover face, grow beard, Christian shirt or a cross around the neck; continual mocking of a person's religious convictions or intentionally using offensive language around someone in order to mock one's religious beliefs. Like sexual discrimination, religious discrimination is often hard to describe and harder still to define. This makes it complicated to prove that religious discrimination has occurred. Therefore, it is recommended that carefully document any religious discrimination in preparation for a claim against an employer. It’s also vital to understand that it is against the law in any country for a person to be refused a promotion or a raise or be fired due to his religious beliefs. Many employees are not aware they may have a religious discrimination claim against their employer if they have been harassed or fired due to their religious convictions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the government agency in charge of investigating claims of racial, sexual, or religious discrimination in the work place.
Signs identifying religious discrimination
If in your interview they asked you specific question about your religion or belief system.
If you are looked down on by co-workers because of your religion or beliefs. If you are treated differently from your co-workers because of what you believe in. In case of interview, say “I prefer not to discuss religion at workplace” If you are looked down by co-workers because of your religion than immediately bring it in notice of your supervisor, but do not go your supervisor’s boss. And if you are treated differently than contact EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964
Religious discrimination is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964. According to this Act, religious discrimination by the employer is forbidden in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. The Act also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee. Reasonable accommodation can include, as examples, providing: • • • • • • Flexible paid holidays, Flexible schedules, Unpaid time for religious observances, Employees the right to wear religion-required head gear regardless of work dress code, The opportunity to offer mandatory prayers, An interview schedule that accommodates religious practices.
Additionally, it can be considered religious discrimination to ask any questions of a prospective employee that cause him or her to discuss religious beliefs or any religious accommodation that might be required after hire. (It is lawful to state the hours of the position and ask whether the candidate will be able to work the required hours of the position.) Employers are required to enforce a religious discrimination-free workplace in which employees are able to practice their religious beliefs without harassment. Employers must permit employees to engage in religious expression. Generally, an employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect on workplace efficiency.” Employers are required to provide a workplace in which religious harassment of employees is not allowed. This is reinforced by implementing an anti-harassment policy and a harassment complaint investigation policy. It is recommended that anti-harassment training is provided on a regular basis for all employees and that a harassment-free workplace.
Key issues with Religious Discrimination at workplace
Religious Dress Holy Days Belief-based Conduct Theistic and non-theistic Religious Community Preferences Promotion
Often it has been observed that employee is treated differently because he or she is dressed up religiously and this should not bother the organization unless and until it affects the company efficiency and does not prove to be injurious to organization. Here are two cases that explain my point of view. In Turkey, A muslim lady Mrs. Anila Jamali was fired by the Kocaeli University authorities from job because she was wearing veil to cover her face while delivering lecture. It is an example of the religious discrimination as the merit is ignored by difference of belief. K.S. Bhinder was fired from his job as an electrician with CN Rail for refusing to wear a hard hat. Mr. Bhinder is a member of the Sikh religion, which requires that he wear a turban at all times, thus making it impossible for him to wear a hard hat.
Sometime the special festivals, events and days are the reason for change of attitude of organization towards certain social class. Religious discrimination complaints most commonly arise when employees lose their jobs after they refuse — for religious reasons — to work on certain days. This scenario represents the highest number of religious discrimination cases. Johan Ezekiel worked in Trans World Airlines, it operates stores department 24 hours, 365 days per year, being a member of the Worldwide Church, observed his Sabbath on Saturday. The company didn’t accommodate well with the religious practices of its employee. Jamshed Maseeh was terminated by PSO authorities because he had to go to church for every Sunday prayers before Easter and the PSO is an organization which works 24 hours for 365 days in a year. The employees work in shifts and for Jamshed Maseeh the alternate was not willing for replacement.
Theresa O'Malley, a long-time employee of the respondent, became a Seventh Day Adventist. After becoming an adherent, she could no longer work between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday (her Sabbath), in accordance with the tenets of her new faith. The respondent's policy required all full-time employees to work during that time period, on a rotating basis. Mrs. O'Malley therefore lost her full-time status, leading to the human rights complaint on religious grounds. In United States, many Muslims have to face the same odd situation in due course of celebrating their special days.
In addition to practices that stem from religious affiliation, such as wearing certain types of clothing or not working on certain days, certain specific actions that are grounded in and motivated by religious belief have also generated case law. Cecilia Moore was fired from her position as a financial aid worker for the Ministry after she refused to grant a client medical coverage for an abortion. In subsequent discussions with her superiors, Ms. Moore made it clear that she would never grant such aid, because of her religiously-based opposition to abortion. While the Council noted that the complainant could and should have disqualified herself from such a file, it ultimately ruled in her favour because of the respondent's complete lack of effort to accommodate the complainant and work out a suitable arrangement. The religion-based conduct at issue was the refusal of an employee to participate in decorating the store where he worked for Christmas. Mr. Jones is a Jehovah's Witness, and, in accordance with his faith, does not participate in the celebration of Christmas. The Tribunal found that the employer knew that Mr. Jones' religious beliefs prevented him from participating in any celebration of Christmas, including decorating the store. Rather than attempting to accommodate those beliefs, the employer gave Jones an ultimatum: decorate or be fired. Benno Kurvits filed a complaint against both his employer and his union because they automatically deducted union dues from his pay cheque. Mr. Kurvits belonged to the Marathon Baptist Church whose tenets forbade union affiliation. The collective agreement provided that if an employee belonged to a church whose tenets forbade union affiliation, and if that church was a registered charity under the Income Tax Act, that employee was allowed to make a contribution equal to the amount of dues to a charitable organization of his or her choice instead of paying union dues. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that this refusal to recognize Mr. Kurvits sincere religious beliefs constituted discrimination. Mr. Kurvits could easily have been accommodated. The Tribunal ordered the employer and the union to amend the collective agreement to eliminate the discriminatory effect of the provision regarding dues check-off. In addition, the employer and the union were required to contribute an amount equal to union dues to a charity of Mr. Kurvits' choice, and to pay $500 each for the damage to dignity that the discrimination caused.
Theistic and non-theistic
Saini V. All Saints Hague Center & Bungay & Paul.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held not only where an employee is harassed on the ground there will be religious discrimination of his certain religious belief but also harassed because of someone else’s certain religious belief. Once an employee establishes that he has been harassed because his employer is pursuing a discriminatory policy against the religious beliefs held by another, that is sufficient to amount to discrimination. Here, the EAT described that Saini had been subject to religious discrimination, as the reason why the board mistreated him was their desire to get rid of Chandel because he was a Hindu. That means that it is illegal for you to be wrongly treated because of people that you associate with or people that you intereacted with. Another case is Davis Vs. Beason. This case was significant because it defined religious discrimination in a theistic way. Davis was catholic and his believes differed from the Beason, who was member of protestant church and therefore fired Davis. But …In Torcaso Vs. Watkins that definition was changed to cover religion or beliefs that do not have a theistic definition. As Torcasso was Christian but Watkins being atheist.
Religious community member Preferences
In Agha Khan Hospital the first preference is given to Agha khani over the other candidates belonging from different communities. So that means a merit is disqualified on the basis of religious discrimination and that is by giving a racial quota upper edge.
Here is an example of how a potential employee can loose an opportunity of promotion because of her belief. Lynne Noyes sued Kelly services corporation for being passed over for a promotion. “The basis of her claim was not her religious beliefs but the fact that she was not a member of a religious organization called THE FOURTH WAY… The individual who received the promotion, like the alleged decision-maker, was a believer in the FOURTH WAY” You can not get stagnant at one place when you know you are capable of moving in vertical direction and your superior feel different way because your religious practices differs from him.
What you can do about it? Find a legal counsel! There are many laws that protect you! Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 To enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, ti extend the commission on Civil Rights to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes. Legally you are allowed to file a suit against your employer if they discriminate you in any way including RELIGIUOS DISCRIMINATION.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is charged with ending discrimination of any kind. The EEOC is to help you, If you are being discriminated against then you need to tell someone immediately. EEOC Address Religious Discrimination. Rising religious discrimination charges. Increasing religious diversity in the world and requests for guidance prompted in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to issue a new Compliance manual Section under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “Religious-Based allegations accounted for the biggest increase in the filed cases upto 34% over fiscal year (FY) 2009” Civil Rights Act of 1991 To amend the civil rights act of 1964 to strengthen and improve Federal Civil Rights Laws, to provide for damages in cases of international employment discrimination, to clarify provisions regarding disparate impact actions, and for other purposes. Discrimination claims increased from under 1400 in 1992 to over 3600 in 2008/2009 A few steps to stop religious discrimination: • • Stop the denial Remove the diversity training label
Focus on Behaviour Commit to a plan of action.
This means… You may have to revise the organizations mission statement. Integrate workplace relationship skills training into business initiatives. Implement a top down strategy. EEOC established 4 steps to handle discrimination cases. 1. Complaint of discrimination being sent to agency within 180 days of incident 2. EEOC will categorize the claim 3. EEOC will then send a detailed questionnaire to the agency in question and conduct investigation 4. Issuance of a Right to Sue issued to complaining party even if no cause is found.
In a Nutshell
To put it in a nutshell, let’s begin from the 3 questions we started with Why does it happen? How does it happen?
And how can we stop it? It happens because organization fails to adopt cross cultural training programs. If the better understanding is created between diversified employees then the complications can be controlled to certain extents and it is essential to give esteem to other’s belief. It happen when perception differs which mean every individual think he is at the right side of the end and rather than coming closer in one direction, both goes in opposite directions. Everyone has to think in broader perspective rather than being confined to his or her own set of perceptions. It can be stopped when we start believing in “BETTER TO UNDERSTAND THAN TO BE UNDERSTOOD” And the center of our thinking in this regard should always be ONE FOR ALL, ALL FOR ONE…
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