Religious Discrimination Lawyers in New Jersey
Laws of the United States and New Jersey prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees based on many characteristics, including religion. Your employer may not stereotype you or treat you unfairly because you practice a certain religion.
Moreover, your employer is required by law to accommodate your religious practice whenever possible. If your company or manager took adverse action against you based on your religion, you could have a legal claim against them.
The religious discrimination lawyers at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble can help you with your religious discrimination case.Let's talk about your case
What is Religious Discrimination?
It is against the law for an employer to treat you differently because of your religion or creed. The law protects people who believe in both traditional and non-traditional religions, as well as non-believers. The protections are very broad, and they also include sincerely held moral and ethical beliefs comparable to traditional beliefs. Even if you are perceived to be of a particular faith, you are protected. Employers may not ask you about your religious faith, affiliations, or worship practices.
Any adverse employment action taken against you as a result of religion may constitute discrimination based on your religious beliefs.
Adverse actions can include termination, demotion, unequal pay, prejudicial hiring practices, failure to promote an employee, and inequality in granting leave training, benefits, or work assignments.
Adverse actions might also take the form of harassment that creates a hostile work environment. Employers may be liable for harassment by supervisors, co-workers, and non-employees, i.e., customers or vendors.
This law does not apply to employers that are religious associations or organizations. Those employers may use religious affiliation as a condition of employment. They may also follow their religious standards to establish criteria for employment.
What Is a Hostile Work Environment?
No one has the right to make you feel uncomfortable because of your religion, especially at work. Making offensive statements about another person’s religion can create a hostile environment in the workplace. Harassment because of someone’s religious beliefs is unlawful and creates a hostile work environment.
If your supervisor routinely makes offensive comments, slurs, or “jokes” about members of your religion, you may be a victim of religious discrimination. A hostile work environment is one that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. It must be so unpleasant that it affects an employee’s ability to do their work.
Your employer must provide reasonable accommodation for the expression of religious beliefs, including certain scheduling needs.
For example, an employee might have the right to time off to observe a certain religious holiday. Or an employer might have to allow an employee to have a modification of the company dress code or grooming code based on that employee’s religious observance.
What Is the Process for Filing a Religious Discrimination Claim?
Create a record of the issues as they happen and document the steps taken toward resolution. Write down details, dates, times, and witnesses. Also, record what your employer’s responses were when you put them on notice and the results.
Follow Your Employer’s Policies First
If you are being harassed at work because of your religious beliefs, you must make an effort to follow your employer’s policies first. Though you do not have to confront your harasser, you must not encourage the behavior. Your employer must have an opportunity to investigate the issue and address the problem.
Larger employers may have a human resources department that can give you information about your options and help you with the process. If you do not have an HR department, and the issue is with one of your supervisors, you should try to advance the issue to their manager.
In some cases, this step might not be an option at all. This might be a nerve-wracking situation for you, but it should help to know that your employer may not lawfully retaliate against you for exercising your rights.
Burden of Proof
An employee alleging employment discrimination must show that they were treated differently due to their religion. To do that, they must show that:
- They are a member of a class protected by anti-discrimination laws (e.g., religion),
- They performed the essential duties of their job at a sufficient level,
- They suffered an adverse employment action, and
- The treatment was related to their religious beliefs.
If the employee can meet that test, the employer must then show that they had a non-discriminatory reason for treating the employee as they did.
If the issue is that the employer denied an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation, and the employer could have done so without undue hardship, the employer may also be liable.
The Legal Process
In the federal court system, you file a Charge of Employment Discrimination to request that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates the issue. Then you can file a federal lawsuit. Under federal law, you must file an employment discrimination claim within 180 days from the day of the last incident.
In New Jersey state courts, you have two years to file a claim under the Law Against Discrimination. These cases are decided by judges or juries. Many of them settle outside of court. Possible damages include monetary compensation for wages and emotional damages. You could also ask to be reinstated to your job.
You may also file a charge with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights within 180 days. In addition to all of the remedies available to you from a successful lawsuit in the state court, the Division of Civil Rights might require your employers to make policy changes or conduct anti-harassment training.
Why Hire a Religious Discrimination Attorney
Hiring an experienced employment discrimination lawyer can be essential to a successful outcome. The discrimination laws can be complex, and not all unfair treatment will rise to the level of illegal discrimination.
You must prove your employer’s intent to discriminate, which involves gathering enough evidence to convince a judge or jury, since your employer is not likely going to just admit discrimination. The evidence-gathering phase is important and can involve a lot of time and effort. An employment discrimination law will have the know-how and resources to competently achieve this task.
Your lawyer can walk you through the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and discuss your best options. This involves anything from determining the agency with which to file the charge to whether a settlement or trial would be in your best interest. Your attorney will make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Discuss Your Case with Our Religious Discrimination Attorneys Today
At O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, our religious discrimination attorneys understand the importance of religious freedom. We believe that everyone, regardless of religion, is entitled to equal opportunity and a respectful work environment. You will work closely with our employment lawyers who specialize in these specific and delicate cases. Together, we will resolve your discrimination issues quickly and efficiently. Contact us today to discuss your claim.
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
A gay grounds crew member at a golf course alleged he was the victim of gay slurs and name calling by other workers.
Discuss Your Case with Our Religious Discrimination Attorneys Today
At O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, our religious discrimination attorneys understand the importance of religious freedom. We believe that everyone, regardless of religion, is entitled to equal opportunity and a respectful work environment. We can help you figure out how to handle your situation, possibly including formal complaints or lawsuits. We may also be able to help you obtain compensation from your former employer for the mistreatment you suffered. You will work closely with our religious discrimination lawyers who specialize in these specific and delicate cases. Together, we will resolve your discrimination issues quickly and efficiently. You will be able to get back to your regular working duties with a peace of mind because you know that our religious discrimination lawyers are always at your disposal, when and where you need them the most. Contact the attorneys of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble today to discuss religious discrimination and potential negotiations. Contact us online or call at (908) 928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817.