Discrimination against someone because of their religious beliefs and practices is illegal under state and federal law. If you believe you have experienced religious discrimination in Bridgeport, consult legal counsel about your rights and options for seeking redress.
You must try to resolve the issue with the employer outside of court before you can bring a lawsuit. If you and your employer cannot settle the issue satisfactorily, or if your employer retains discriminatory policies, you could bring a legal claim for damages. A civil rights lawyer at Ruane Attorneys could help at every stage of the proceedings.
The Laws Protect Religious Expression
Connecticut General Statute §46a-60 prohibits discrimination in the workplace due to religious creed. An employer may not hire, fire, or make other employment decisions based on an employee’s religious beliefs.
A Bridgeport attorney at our firm could advise whether a particular employment decision violated the prohibition against religious discrimination. For example, refusing to hire a qualified person because of their religious headwear would violate the law. If a store owner hired the person but did not allow them to work in the front of the store serving customers unless they removed their headwear, that could be religious discrimination.
The law allows exceptions when a person’s religious beliefs are fundamental to a job. An example might be a pastor or chaplain. In those cases, it is acceptable for an employer to consider religion in hiring. However, if someone alleges religious discrimination, the employer has the burden of proving that religious beliefs are an essential qualification for the position.
Reasonable Accommodations for Religious Beliefs
An employer must make reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs. Reasonable accommodations could include allowing an employee to have the sabbath as a day off, providing an employee with a break during the workday to pray, or adjusting their duties to allow them to avoid tasks that conflict with their religion.
A reasonable accommodation must not cause undue hardship to the employer. If an employee requests an accommodation the employer believes will cause hardship, they need not grant it. However, they must work with the employee to find a solution that meets their religious needs without unreasonably interfering with the employer’s business needs. A Bridgeport attorney could advise an employee on negotiating an acceptable religious accommodation.
For example, a server in a full-service restaurant with a religious objection to alcohol might ask to be exempt from serving tables that order wine or drinks with their meal. The restaurant manager might be justified in refusing this request as it could make staffing unreasonably difficult. The manager could comply with prohibitions on religious discrimination by switching the server to the breakfast shift or offering them a job in the kitchen or at the host desk.
Religious Harassment in Bridgeport
Employers must ensure that employees are not subject to harassment due to their religious beliefs or expressions. An employer that permits a hostile work environment could be liable to an employee who feels bullied or abused because of their religion.
People whose dress or grooming reflect their religious beliefs often face comments, “jokes,” or teasing with an undercurrent of hostility. Remarks about a person’s beard or modest dress could contribute to a hostile work environment if they are repetitive and seemingly refer to the person’s religious expression.
Anyone experiencing hostility in the workplace should thoroughly document the situation and immediately report the situation to management or human resources. The time limit for legal action begins when harassment or hostile words or acts first occur. Our local attorneys could advise a worker on gathering evidence of the religious harassment, properly wording a complaint to the employer, and taking the next steps if the employer does not respond appropriately.
Consult a Bridgeport Attorney About Combatting Religious Discrimination
Various laws protect people from religious discrimination in the workplace and provide legal remedies for victims. People who believe they have experienced religious biases at work could file a complaint with their employer and then pursue legal action if necessary.
Our legal team could explain the process of suing an employer for religious discrimination in Bridgeport. Reach out to Ruane Attorneys today to schedule a consultation.