Westchester County Religious Discrimination

Westchester County Religious Discrimination

Westchester County Lawyers Fighting for Your Workplace Rights

Westchester County is comprised of five cities and 42 villages and towns. Companies headquartered there include PepsiCo, IBM, MasterCard, and ITT Corporation. It has a strong biotechnology sector. Fitting religious observances into your life can be challenging, especially in certain workplaces. Both federal and state laws prohibit religious discrimination so that employees can faithfully observe their religious beliefs, but unfortunately, not all employers adhere to the law. You may be entitled to recover damages if your employer made an adverse employment decision against you due to your religious beliefs or because you asked for a reasonable accommodation for your religious observances. You should consult the Westchester County religious discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates about whether you may have a basis to sue.

Laws Prohibiting Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination happens when a covered employer makes adverse employment decisions against an employee based on his or her religion or religious observances, rather than his or her job performance. It is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law.

Title VII prohibits religious discrimination when an employer has at least 15 employees. It is enforced by the EEOC, the guidance of which describes religion as any moral or ethical beliefs sincerely held, including agnosticism or atheism. The New York State Human Rights Law protects people who work for an employer that has a minimum of four employees. Both laws prohibit workplace harassment based on your religion as a form of discrimination. There are other differences between these laws, and it is important to consult with a religious discrimination attorney in Westchester County about which law would provide better remedies, given your situation.

If it is covered, your employer is not allowed to base its decisions related to hiring, firing, layoffs, pay, promotions, bonuses, and other important aspects of employment on your religion. Additionally, it should provide a reasonable accommodation for your religious beliefs and practices unless doing so would cause it an undue hardship.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are changes to the workplace or how things are done in the workplace that would allow you to observe your religion. They could include alterations to your work schedule, work policies, grooming policies, dress code, or shifts. For example, if you are Sikh and wear a turban, but your employer's policy is to disallow heads to be covered on the job, a reasonable accommodation might be to allow you to wear your turban.

The New York State Human Rights Law is slightly more expansive in its protection than Title VII. As a Westchester County religious discrimination attorney can explain, an employer covered by this law cannot mandate terms or conditions of employment that require you to violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or practices in order to get or maintain employment, unless it can show an undue hardship. Your employer is supposed to accommodate you if you ask for leave for a religious holiday or ask to alter your grooming as a religious accommodation. Your employer cannot refuse to accommodate your religious beliefs unless it first makes a bona fide effort to give you the accommodation. An undue hardship needs to be more than a simple expense. It can be significant costs or challenges.

It can be upsetting to be mistreated because of your beliefs, and furthermore, you may be worried about pursuing legal action. It is illegal under both federal and state laws for your employer to retaliate against you for engaging in good faith in the protected activity of reporting or filing a lawsuit on the basis of religious discrimination. Even if a court ultimately disagrees with you and finds no religious discrimination in an initial adverse employment action, an employer that fires you because of your complaint could be liable for retaliation or wrongful termination.

Hire a Religious Discrimination Lawyer in Westchester County

At Phillips & Associates, our experienced attorneys help clients who have faced religious discrimination on the job. If you believe that you have been a victim of religious discrimination, contact us at (866) 229-9441 or through our online form for a free consultation about your case. We represent people in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and White Plains.

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