Van-Lear Eckert
Experienced Southern Illinois Attorney
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Religion is a protected employment class

| Oct 25, 2018 | Employment Law |

Religion is a topic that can unite some and drive conflicts between others. Whether an Illinois resident chooses to follow a particular church or faith, or elects to live their life according to secular principles, there is bound to be someone who disagrees with their approach to spiritual living. Under the law men and women in the United States are free to decide what religion, if any, they wish to follow and subsequently they may not be penalized in their jobs for the decisions they make with regard to this important topic.

A person’s freedom to choose the religion of their own choice is codified in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and a worker’s protection to enforce this right in their workplace is included in Title VII to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this law, employers may not treat their employees differently based on their religious beliefs and may not impose work requirements that burden individuals of certain religions.

For example, consider a worker who is part of a faith that requires them to pray on certain times of the day. Their periods of prayer are regular and known, but the person’s employer mandates that the employee attend a meeting every time that they are preparing to pray. The employer does not schedule meets on days when other individuals may be attending to their religious needs.

The employee in this scenario may have a claim for religious discrimination if their employer is not willing to accommodate their regular and expected prayer schedule. Individuals with questions about how religious discrimination may impact the employment practices of their workplaces are encouraged to reach out to employment lawyers in their communities.