New Jersey Religious Discrimination
In New Jersey, you cannot be discriminated against when applying for a job, or in the workplace, based on your religion. You have the right to ask your employer for reasonable accommodations of any specific religious beliefs so long as your convictions are sincerely held. If you find yourself the victim of religious discrimination in the workplace, the experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorneys of Phillips & Associates may be able to file a discrimination lawsuit in order to recover damages on your behalf.Religious Discrimination Is Prohibited Under Federal and State Law
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) both provide protection against religious discrimination to an employee who works for an employer with 15 or more employees. The NJLAD also protects people who work for companies with less than 15 employees
Religious discrimination includes any adverse action taken against a worker due to his religion, or lack of religious belief, in any aspect of employment. Hiring, firing, promotion, providing job training, and providing benefits are all employment decisions. An employer may not segregate workers based on their religion. For example, an employer cannot have a policy or practice of only hiring Christian job applicants to customer service positions, and keeping those with other beliefs in less lucrative behind-the-scenes positions. For another example, an employer cannot condone harassment of Muslim employees. Employers also cannot allow joking or mocking of someone’s religionEmployers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations
Title VII also requires employers to reasonably accommodate their employees' religious practices, unless providing this accommodation is an undue burden on the business's operations. Accommodations may include providing an exception to dress or grooming policies, allowing religious holiday days off or flexible scheduling, and lateral transfers. Each situation must be judged on its own to determine whether the accommodation counts as an undue hardship. Expense alone may not be enough to show hardship. Rather the court would look at multiple factors including workplace safety, cost, infringement on other workers' rights, efficiency, or the burden on other employees.
Religious harassment is one type of discrimination. A single offhanded remark is unlikely to be considered harassment. However, harassment is unlawful if it is so extreme or happens so often it creates a hostile work environment or results in a negative employment decision such as a firing, demotion, or loss of a bonus.The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Protects Workers
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) also prohibits religious discrimination, and it applies to smaller employers than Title VII does. You have the right to be fairly considered for any job regardless of your religious beliefs or creed. These must be sincerely held. However, there's an exception if you employer is a religious organization or association, such as a church. Those employers can use religious affiliation to hire religious teachers, clergy or any other employees that are engaged in the religious activities of the employer as part of job duties. They can also follow their religious beliefs in establishing employment criteria.
In a lawsuit based on the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, assuming you successfully establish your case, you may be entitled to damages such as:
- restoration of benefits,
- put into a job you were unfairly denied with back pay and interest,
- damages for emotional distress, humiliation and pain caused by the discrimination,
- out-of-pocket expenses, and
- reasonable attorneys' fees.
It can be challenging to establish religious discrimination without the help of an attorney. Our firm can provide aggressive and knowledgeable legal representation in either a federal or a state court lawsuit. The New Jersey religious discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates can provide aggressive, knowledgeable representation. Contact us at (609) 436-9087 or via our online system. We serve clients in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington, and Camden Counties.
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