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Religious Discrimination at Work

This article contains information excerpted from the U.S. EEOC and the Texas Workforce Commission.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.

Religious discrimination can also involve treating someone differently because that person is married to (or associated with) an individual of a particular religion.

Read more about Religious Discrimination at eeoc.gov.

Religious Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Read more about Religious Discrimination at eeoc.gov.

Religious Discrimination & Harassment

It is 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.

Read more about Religious Discrimination at eeoc.gov.

Religious Discrimination Action

If you believe you may have been discriminated against in employment due to your religion, you may submit a discrimination complaint through the TWC Civil Rights Division. To learn more about the complaint process, see How to Submit an Employment Discrimination Complaint.

Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 (Chapter 21) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, termination and other terms and conditions of employment. The law applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, and to all state and local governmental entities no matter how many employees they have.

For example, employers cannot do any of the following:

  • Schedule examinations or other selection activities in conflict with a current or prospective employee's religious needs
  • Inquire about an applicant's future availability at certain times
  • Refuse to allow observance of a Sabbath or religious holiday, unless the employer can prove that not doing so would cause an undue hardship
  • Refuse to accommodate an employee’s religious dress or grooming practices, except when the accommodation would cause undue hardship or safety concerns

An employer can claim undue hardship when asked to accommodate an employee's religious practices if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.

Read more about taking action against Religious Discrimination at twc.state.tx.us.