Phillips & Associates

Yonkers Religious Discrimination

Employment Attorneys Fighting for Residents of Yonkers

Yonkers has 37 or more distinct neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are culturally diverse. About 65% of residents in Yonkers affiliate with a religion. The largest religion is Catholicism, while the Riverdale border is home to a large Orthodox Jewish community. Some workers struggle to observe their religion. Many employers do not understand their obligations under state and federal anti-discrimination laws. You may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation for your religious observances. If your employer engages in religious discrimination, you may be able to recover damages. At Phillips & Associates, our Yonkers religious discrimination lawyers are ready to represent you in a claim or lawsuit.

Federal Laws Prohibiting Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination occurs whenever an employer takes an adverse employment step toward an employee due to his or her religion or religious observances. Like race discrimination and national origin discrimination, religious discrimination is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when an employer has a minimum of 15 employees. Title VII is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

EEOC guidance explains that "religion" does not encompass only the traditional organized religions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new and less well defined, as well as those that are practiced only by a small group of people. Economic, political, and social philosophies are not considered religious beliefs and do not receive Title VII protection. If you subscribe to a religion that is neither traditional nor parochial, but it is a religion that involves a sincere and meaningful belief that holds a place in your life that is similar to the place traditionally filled by God, you are covered according to EEOC guidance. Our religious discrimination attorneys can advise Yonkers employees on whether their specific situation may be covered.

Under Title VII, you may be entitled to request a reasonable accommodation for a religious practice. The EEOC provides that religious practices can include going to a worship service, praying, following specific dietary rules, showing religious objects, and refraining from specific activities. Whether or not a practice counts as religious for the purposes of Title VII involves a case-by-case evaluation.

State Laws

Religious discrimination is also prohibited under the New York State Human Rights Law when an employer has a minimum of four employees. The state law forbids employers from instituting terms or conditions of employment that require employees to violate sincerely held religious practices or beliefs in order to obtain or keep employment, except when the employer can prove an undue hardship.

Reasonable Accommodations

You are entitled to ask for a reasonable accommodation for your religious practices, but you may benefit from enlisting a Yonkers religious discrimination attorney to assist you during this process. Your employer is supposed to make a bona fide effort to provide the accommodation. In other words, if you need a schedule shift due to a religious holiday, or you need to wear a head covering because of a religious belief, you should get an accommodation, unless it causes your employer an undue hardship. The undue hardship must be something more than mere cost, but it can include any significant challenge, including significant expense. In most cases, the state law provides greater protection than Title VII does. However, it does not let you obtain punitive damages for religious discrimination.

Many people feel uncomfortable when asserting their rights in the face of an employer’s religious discrimination. However, complaining about religious discrimination is a protected activity under federal and state laws. If you have a good-faith belief that you were a victim of religious discrimination, you should pursue legal action. The court may or may not find discrimination, but if it finds that you were treated adversely as a result of engaging in a protected activity, you likely will have a viable claim for retaliation and be able to recover damages on that score.

Consult a Skillful Religious Discrimination Lawyer in Yonkers

At Phillips & Associates, our experienced litigators may be able to help you recover damages if you faced religious discrimination or other forms of discrimination under federal or state laws. If you believe that you have been fired, harassed, or otherwise mistreated because of your beliefs, contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form for a free consultation.

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