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What is religious discrimination?

Faith and religion are important aspects of many cultures, including those found in American communities. As such, the law protects people of faith from being harassed and discriminated against during their employment or while applying for jobs. You and other Florida business owners should understand religious discrimination and reasonable accommodation laws to protect your company from adverse legal action by employees and applicants.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, religious discrimination violates employment laws. This protection extends to practices regarding hiring, creating religious exclusions as a condition of employment or making an adverse employment decision, including firing an employee, based on the employee’s religious beliefs or practices. Discrimination and harassment are defined as behavior and comments that create an offensive or hostile work environment. Isolated incidents that are not severe or simple teasing might not qualify as discrimination.

People of different religions have experienced harassment and discrimination based on their clothing, grooming habits, religious holidays, morals and ethics, food restrictions, prayers and other practices. As an employer, you should make accommodations to respect your staff members’ religious beliefs without unreasonably impacting your business operations. For example, you may allow an employee to request time off work to observe a religious holiday, but you should not segregate or discipline employees who cover their hair as part of their belief practices.

Religious discrimination is a complex topic that may require experienced counsel to ensure you are making the right decisions. Therefore, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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