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Can I practice my faith while I am at work?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2018 | Employment Discrimination, Firm News

People in Fresno practice a variety of religions, and some may hold strong moral beliefs but practice no religion in particular. Both federal laws and California laws prohibit employers in this state from discriminating against people, including current employees and job applicants, because of their religious beliefs and practices. This means that an employer cannot fire, discipline, or otherwise take an adverse action against an employee because of their religion.

However, the rules are slightly different when it comes to actually allowing a person to practice their faith in the workplace. This is because the law recognizes that while individuals should be allowed to practice their faith and hold a job, businesses cannot accommodate all religious practices without sacrificing important interests, such as health and safety, or even the right of the business to make an honest profit.

This balancing test can be complicated when applied to specific facts, so a Fresno employee who feels they were the victim of employment discrimination because they were not allowed to practice their faith will likely want to review their case with an attorney before taking additional steps.

However, in general, an employer must grant a request for a religious accommodation if doing so imposes no more than what the law calls a minimal burden on the employer’s business operations. In other words, if it does not cost an employer more than just some time and maybe a little inconvenience, then the employer should grant the request. Incidentally, an employer’s generalized belief that other employees or even customers will be upset is not grounds for denying an accommodation.

In most cases, an employee’s personal religious beliefs and practices must be respected. While there are some situations in which an employer can put the needs of the business ahead of an employee’s beliefs, the employer must show that to do otherwise would impose hardship on the business.



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