Religious belief and practice are integral to many people’s lives and identities. However, employees are too often forced to compromise their sincerely held religious values simply to retain their jobs. Requests for reasonable accommodations may be denied, religious dress forbidden, or derogatory remarks tolerated.
When religious discrimination occurs in the workplace, it inflicts deep injury upon a person’s sense of self. Your beliefs help shape who you are, and no one should ever be compelled to sacrifice them just to earn a living. Fortunately, there are legal protections under both federal and California law that empower victims of religious discrimination to stand up for their rights. With the help of a California religious discrimination lawyer, justice can be achieved.
At TONG LAW, we have seen first-hand the damage done when employees suffer intolerance because of their religious identity. That is why we passionately defend employees against religious discrimination. We build a strong case on your behalf so that you receive the respect, compensation, and dignity you deserve.
Legal Actions You Can Take Against Religious Discrimination
If you believe you’ve been discriminated against because of your religious beliefs or practices, the first step is understanding how the law is on your side. There are three primary legal actions we can pursue:
Filing a Complaint With the EEOC
Under Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act, religious discrimination in employment is prohibited under federal law. When your religious rights are violated, you can file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to initiate an investigation of the allegations.
The EEOC will objectively gather facts, interview witnesses, and determine if discrimination in the workplace has occurred. Many cases are resolved through mediation, where we can negotiate with your employer to find an equitable solution. If that fails, the EEOC has the power to sue on your behalf or issue a “right to sue” letter that enables you to take your case to court.
Filing a Complaint Under California’s FEHA
In addition to federal Title VII claims, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides strong protections against religious discrimination and harassment at the state level. FEHA expressly prohibits employment discrimination based on religious creed, belief, or observance.
If you have suffered religious discrimination, you can file a complaint with California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD). They will investigate the allegations and either seek to resolve the case through mediation or allow you to pursue civil litigation.
FEHA provides the same types of damages as possible under Title VII, including lost wages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages in cases of especially malicious or reckless conduct. The state law complements and bolsters federal protections.
With guidance from a religious discrimination attorney, you can pursue justice under both California and federal law.
Seeking Justice Through Litigation
Even after engaging the EEOC or CRD, some religious discrimination cases require going to court when settlement attempts fail.
TONG LAW aggressively pursues full economic damages like lost wages, benefits, and diminished future earnings. Emotional harms are also quantified through testimony on distress, damaged self-image, physical ailments, and family difficulties. In egregious cases, punitive damages may be warranted.
Successful litigation requires adeptly gathering evidence of religious hostility and failure to accommodate sincerely held beliefs. We aim to construct an irrefutable case. We know what it takes to win at trial.
Justice is secured when cases reach favorable verdicts or pre-trial settlements. With passionate advocacy rooted in the law, we will fight for clients to gain the best possible outcome for their cases.
Seeking Damages and Compensation
When religious discrimination occurs, our legal system allows victims to recover damages for both economic losses and emotional harm. Lost wages, denied promotions, and reduced future earnings capacity can be quantified and restored. Emotional pain and suffering, stress-related physical ailments, and family difficulties also have monetary value. Egregious misconduct may warrant punitive damages.
The goal of compensation is to make victims whole again to the fullest extent possible. Of course, money cannot undo the injustice or erase the stain of intolerance. But fair compensation enables recovery and eases financial burdens. It also imposes accountability upon employers, deterring future wrongdoing.
A qualified religious discrimination lawyer knows how to build a case that yields full, fair compensation in keeping with the harm done. We advocate for our clients to receive compensation that allows them to move forward and heal from the wounds of discrimination.
What Constitutes Religious Discrimination in the Workplace?
Religious discrimination manifests when employees face adverse treatment or are denied accommodations because of their sincerely held religious beliefs or practices. Both federal and California laws prohibit workplace discrimination based on religious creed or observance. In 2021, over 2,000 religious discrimination charges were filed with the EEOC.
Some common scenarios that may constitute unlawful discrimination include:
- Dress code or grooming policies that forbid religious attire and articles of faith.
- Inflexible scheduling that does not accommodate observance of religious holidays, sabbaths, or prayer times.
- Subjecting employees to unwanted proselytizing or requiring attendance at religious services.
- Workplace harassment involving derogatory comments about religious beliefs.
- Denying promotions, transfers, or other opportunities due to an employee’s religion.
- Failure to provide reasonable accommodations for religious practices unless an undue hardship can be proven.
The standard for protection is a “sincerely held religious belief,” regardless of whether it is part of an organized religion. Sincere atheism and agnosticism are also protected characteristics.
Your Legal Protections Against Religious Discrimination
Federal and state laws provide important protections for employees against religious discrimination and failure to accommodate sincerely held beliefs. Key rights that employees should be aware of include:
- Reasonable accommodation – Employers must make reasonable modifications to workplace policies, practices, and schedules to accommodate religious practices unless doing so involves more than minimal hardship.
- Freedom from harassment – Offensive remarks, intimidation, or hostility based on religion may create an unlawful hostile work environment. Employees are entitled to a workplace free of religious harassment.
- Equal treatment – Employers cannot apply policies or rules in a discriminatory way that singles out employees of a particular religion for adverse treatment. Restrictions must affect all employees equally.
- Sincerely held beliefs – Protections apply to traditional organized religions as well as moral, ethical, or spiritual beliefs deeply held by an employee. Non-belief is also protected.
Understanding these core rights can empower employees suffering from religious discrimination to seek justice. The law establishes standards to guide employers in providing religious freedom and equality in the workplace.
Why Hire a Religious Discrimination Lawyer?
Religious discrimination laws involve complex standards for reasonable accommodation, undue hardship, and proof of discriminatory intent. An experienced employment law attorney understands what it takes to build a strong legal case and achieve a successful outcome, whether through negotiation or trial.
With legal counsel, you can avoid risks like failing to meet EEOC deadlines or accepting an inadequate settlement offer. TONG LAW has successfully represented employees in religious discrimination cases and obtained favorable verdicts and settlements. When your beliefs are on the line, legal representation is essential.
Pursue the Justice You Deserve — Contact TONG LAW Today.
If you have faced religious discrimination or harassment in a California workplace, we at TONG LAW encourage you to promptly seek legal counsel to explore your rights. Don’t resign yourself to mistreatment – take action.
A TONG LAW employment attorney will provide compassionate guidance rooted in years of experience. Contact us for a consultation where you can confidently share your story. We will review the details of your situation and advise you on the most strategic options to recover damages, secure accommodations, and demand the respect you deserve.
Religious freedom doesn’t end at the office door. Contact TONG LAW today for dedicated legal support. With our help, you can exercise your rights and achieve the justice you rightly deserve. Your beliefs are worth fighting for.