March 20, 2023
BY elijah "big dan" vargas
Both federal and Texas laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of an employee’s religious practices or beliefs: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Texas Labor Code respectively.
As with other forms of discrimination, it is illegal for an employer to hire, fire, or affect an employee’s terms or conditions of employment because of the employee’s religion.
It is also illegal to harass a person because of his or her religion. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person's religious beliefs or practices. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren't very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
Additionally, an employer may need to make reasonable accommodations for certain religious practices and beliefs, unless the accommodation creates an undue hardship on the employer. For example, to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs, an employer may need to change an employee’s job assignment, provide flexible scheduling options, accommodate dress and grooming practices, or modify employment testing.
Religious practices and beliefs “include moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.” Additionally, the law protects “personal religious beliefs that are not in the mainstream of religious thought or that are not common to all members of a particular religious group.”
If you or a loved one have been discriminated against at your place of employment based on religion, please act quick as you only have 180 days to file a charge or lose your right to any legal recourse.