Unfortunately, the workplace can play host to many forms of discrimination, but one of the more insidious types is religious discrimination. No matter the industry or job title, California workers of all kinds are recommended to know and recognize the forms that religious discrimination may take in the workplace. By understanding their rights at a state and federal level, workers in California can safely and comfortably do their jobs and help to stop the religious harassment of colleagues.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines religious discrimination as “treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs.” Since the concept of religious beliefs can vary from person to person, the EEOC extends this protection not only to structured and traditional religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism but also to people with ethical, moral and religious beliefs that are sincerely held. Finally, people who are married to religious spouses are also protected by the EEOC religious discrimination statutes.

Under Division 4.1, Chapter 5, Subchapter 2, Article 8 of the Official California Code of Regulations, workers who believe their religious creeds have been discriminated against have particular ways to establish such instances. These can include:

  • An employer failing to reasonably accommodate the religious creed of the employee or applicant
  • The denial of employment benefits because of the religious creed of an applicant or employee
  • The denial of employment benefits because of the lack of a religious creed of an employee or applicant

Documentation of harassment such as offensive remarks, the creation of a hostile work environment and job segregation due to religious creeds are also prohibited at the state and federal level.