Religious Discrimination

In American workplaces religion is amongst mainly emotive and difficult issues facing employees and employers.   Within the enormously diverse along with religiously pluralistic society, there is bound to conflict. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC has recently given its statistics regarding the conflict which is rising at an ever rapid pace.  EEOC religion-oriented discrimination charges have progressively risen by 41 percent since 1997 whereas the payouts have risen by about 174%. This however represent a very small number of reported incidents, the incidents reporting is said to be slightly below fifty percent. This leaves a very huge group of employees who face religion discrimination. Additionally, some reported cases due to lack of evidence ends up with the employers going scot free.

Overview of the law

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII forbids employers, with the exception of religious based organizations or groups  from discriminating against persons owing to their religion when hiring, dismissing along with other employment conditions. Title VII further demands that employers reasonably accommodate the existing or prospective employees’ religious practices, except if doing so would create an unwarranted suffering upon the employer (ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, 2012). In other words Title VII requires that

  • Employers must not treat staffs more or lesser favorably owing to their religious conviction
  • Employees must not be required participating or refrained from engaging in a religious activity as an employment requirement
  • Employers should reasonably accommodate staffs’ sincerely held religious convictions except if this imposes an unwarranted suffering on the employer
  • Steps must be taken by the employer to avoid religious harassment towards their staffs
  • Employers must not hit back against staffs for asserting their rights under Title VII

Title VII thus provides that the employer should accommodate the employee’s religious practices. However this is not the case the employers have persistently discriminated the employees without any punishment being extended to them. Most of the cases lack evidence or go unreported. Employers have overtime received threatening warnings if they attempt to report a discrimination issue (Brougher, 2011). The supervisors use threats of sacking the employee from their job. The employee due to the fear for their lives along with livelihood succumbs to threats. This is completely unacceptable since Title VII demands that the employer must not revenge or threaten a staff if they demand to be treated fairly.

What is “reasonable accommodation”?

This term “a reasonable accommodation” refers to the setting that eradicates the conflict amongst his religious beliefs along with work requirements, and which does not cause unjustified suffering to the employer. I find that the provision of discriminatory excusal if it causes unjustifiable suffering to the employer allows for discrimination. This is section that most employers use to relieve themselves of any blame or prosecution.  This section has caused a lot of pain on the part of employees who present a case against the employer just to be told that the situation caused unwarranted suffering to the employer (II, Kuhn, & DiLullo, 2005).  I do not suppose that particular existing employee’s demands cannot cause unwarranted suffering to the employer but I think that the particular demands require to be categorized. For instance, an employee might require a certain day off but there lacks a person to stand in on their behalf; this can cause unjustifiable suffering to the employer and cannot be accommodated.  However, if an employee requires to dress in a certain way due to their religious beliefs this must be accommodated and any employer who forces any other should dealt with by law: this must be accommodated (Mayer, 2004). Additionally, there exist other arrangements such as shift swaps, flexible scheduling and so on.

Though the employer is never mandated by law to providing particular accommodations as requested by the employee, he must provide adequate proof that the accommodation causes the unjustifiable suffering (Mayer, 2004). The employers are increasingly abusing the good faith which is entrusted to them by the law. The law also requires the employees be reasonable when demanding certain accommodations from the employee. But, when was an employee asked to give demands regarding their treatment, the terms and conditions are always stated and documented such that when a new employee joins the organization they are required to only accept them. Failure to accepting the laid down terms means an individual has rejected the position. The employers have used this trick to discriminately victimize prospective employees against their religion (II, Kuhn, & DiLullo, 2005). This is an act that should not be allowed to prevail anymore: alarm should be raised or a law enacted regarding employment terms conditions that are flexibly and reasonably accommodate staffs’ religious beliefs.

Undue hardship

The employer is not mandated to offer any accommodation that causes him “undue hardship”. The EEOC interprets this term to mean that an employer could show the requested accommodation results into unwarranted suffering in terms costs, that is anything beyond the administrative costs (ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, 2012). The US Supreme Court has indicated that “undue hardship” means that the employer must not incur costs beyond the minimum costs to accommodate an employee’s religious practices. However, all these provision solely depend on the employers’ word. The employer is able to fabricate documents and show that they would undergo loses or incurs extra expenses whilst it might be untrue. The hiring practices are the most discriminatory since the prospective employee is desperately seeking for an opportunity and they are forced to put up with unfavorable conditions within the workplace with regards to their religious practices (II, Kuhn, & DiLullo, 2005).

What is harassment grounded on religious conviction?

Similar to other harassments such as sexual harassments, religious harassment may occur through: quid pro quo and or hostile environment harassment.

  1. A hostile work setting refers to the condition whereby offensive conduct is pointed towards a staff owing to their employee’s religious conviction and that the conduct is extremely severe to the extent of violating the terms employment and that employer fails to take any action to prevent the harassment.
  2. Quid Pro Quo type of harassment happens when the harasser seeks exchanging tangible employment gains aimed at forcing compliance of the harasser’s religious demands and when the command fails to be obeyed, the harasser undertakes adverse employment action.

Many employees undergo harassment of religious nature, from either their coworkers and or the clients which make it hard for the employee to operate (Brougher, 2011). The harassment which might come in form of ridicule results into psychological torture. Many companies regard this as minute incidences and if the employee reports these complaints usually not much is done or a matter is placed under investigation for a lengthy period of time. Justice delayed is justice denied, the organizations can deliberately delay justice for their own selfish reasons (ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, 2012).    This is a matter that renders employees helpless: certainly the organizations must not be allowed to get away as easily with these cases.

Instances that a staff is liable to a hostile work setting

Firstly, if co-workers create a hostile work setting via religious harassment, the employer is liable if they knew of the issue and failed to take prompt and decisive action against the offenders. I suppose that this is the most prevalent harassment since colleagues to a large extent direct insulting or disturbing statements towards their colleagues regarding their private life such as religious beliefs (Mayer, 2004). Additionally these are the mainly reported cases, but how many times is action not taken? This translates to no or little action prompting the coworkers’ continuance of direct intimidating statements the particular staff. This however does not include normal teasing and isolated comments unless extremely serious. Secondly, if a supervisor creates a hostile work setting which is of religious nature, the employer is accountable. For instance in numerous cases in the supervisors discriminate against the employees, however, rarely do the administration extend any action this is because the supervisor is shielded by his position.  The supervisor in addition might even go ahead to harassing the employee through revengeful missions such as awarding the employee extra duties (ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, 2012). 


The employer participates in retaliation if a staff engages in protective activities, for example, complaining, opposing or testifying against prejudice. This is a very important issue with regards to employee discrimination since its ultimate goal is to stop any staff to reporting against harassment directed towards them. The EEOC has indicated that there exist a rapid rise retaliation charges in the recent past (II, Kuhn, & DiLullo, 2005). Above 37 percent of the entire are retaliation charges taking into mind that retaliation charges are the fastest growing complaints section of discrimination.  Certainly, this is a clear indication of how much the organizations are willing to evade following the law and continue to discriminate against the employees. The ever-rising retaliation charges indicate the dominant and colonizing ways in which employers are exercising within their places of work. An employee faces a retaliatory advancement if they asked to be treated rightfully, complained against an issue or testified against a witnessed harassment case. The last reason shows that not only the harassed individuals receive retaliatory actions but also the witnesses. Silencing the witnesses amounts to obstruction of justice which is an offense chargeable in a court of law (Mayer, 2004). I suppose the companies that are facing retaliatory charges be punished severely to caution any other firms that have similar tendencies. It is only through such sever punishments and fines which workers will be able to enjoy freedom of expression and participation in activities relating to fighting discrimination.  

Workplace proselytizing

This presents a unique challenge to employers since the failure to react towards staffs’ complaints regarding proselytizing may result to charges relating to religious harassment, additionally requiring a religious staff to stop proselytizing could result in liability as a result of failing to reasonably accommodate the staffs’ beliefs (ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, 2012). Though this area is new and laws pertaining to this issue are being developed employers require to be aware that their past deeds are being watched. A staff possesses a right to participate in religious practices so long as it does not result to an undue suffering on the side of the employer.  Thus whilst the line among allowable proselytizing along with workplace harassment is fuzzy, essential factors that lean on the analysis side are: firstly, the proselytizing pervasiveness (II, Kuhn, & DiLullo, 2005).  Secondly, its effects on fellow workers and their work performance and thirdly the capability and readiness of the employer in adopting steps of accommodating the distressed parties. Organizations have a tendency of denying workers a period of engaging their superior beings at the precise times their religions require them to. A company can adopt measures such as hiring chaplain who would serve the workers religious needs. But this usually evidently absent, as a matter of fact if an employee suggest such a subject they would face retaliatory attacks. Additionally a company may choose to allow prayer groups if there no related losses that a company would face (ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, 2012). There exit a lot of things that an employer could o to accommodate the religious convictions of an employee and which is not being done.

Indeed the issues of religious accommodation form a component of extremely emotive area within the workplace setting. Within the American workplace society religion is a very sensitive issue owing to the large numbers varying religious beliefs, this necessitates that organizations operate with extreme care towards accommodating the staffs’ religious beliefs. I am particularly saddened by companies that continue to discriminate against American workers in the 21st century, considering the numerous laws, improved judicial and legal systems. Discrimination is absolutely unacceptable and no employer should discriminate against an employee or direct retaliatory actions towards them. The employees must take a courageous step ahead and report any discriminatory actions against them to the relevant authorities.


ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE. (2012). Religious Accommodation in the Workplace: Your Rights and Obligations. Retrieved from

Brougher, C. (2011). Religion and the Workplace: Legal Analysis of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as It Applies to Religion and Religious Organizations.

II, J. A., Kuhn, D. R., & DiLullo, S. A. (2005). U.S. employers’ legal responsibilities for preventing religious discrimination. Managerial Law. doi:10.1108/03090550510771386 Mayer, R. H. (2004). The Civil Rights Act of 1964. San Diego: Greenhaven Press

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