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What Are the Signs of Religious Discrimination?

People who belong to religious minority groups, including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others, are protected against discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. However, not all signs of religious discrimination are necessarily obvious, and you should be on the lookout in case you or your coworkers are discriminated against. Here are just some signs of religious discrimination that you should watch for in your workplace:


  1. Lower pay or benefits

  • Sometimes, religious discrimination takes a similar form to other types of discrimination, resulting in lower pay or benefits related to their coworkers. Victims of discrimination may be paid less, get fewer vacation days, or be denied raises or promotions they would otherwise be entitled to.

  1. Use of offensive language or slurs

  • Religious discrimination can also manifest as managers, coworkers, or others using offensive language or slurs in relation to a religious group. This may occur in private conversation, or in written communications like email or text messages.

  1. Making inappropriate jokes or statements

  • Alternatively, discrimination may manifest as inappropriate jokes or statements that carry a discriminatory intent. For example, they may use humor that relies on offensive stereotypes, or make broad statements about religious groups that affirm those stereotypes.

  1. Being dismissive of religious beliefs

  • Sometimes, religious discrimination is more subtle, with employers or coworkers refusing to respect individual religious beliefs. This may include making comments that are dismissive of a person’s deeply held religious beliefs, or refusing to respect their dietary restrictions.

  1. Refusing to grant time off for holidays

  • The law protects every person’s right to take off for religious holidays, but not every employer respects that right. They may force an employee to work on a holiday, or force them to take sick or vacation days for religious observances.

  1. Refusing to grant reasonable accommodations

  • Religious discrimination may also take the form of refusing to grant reasonable accommodations for employees. This may include refusing to allow adjustments to dress codes for things like facial hair, or forcing them to remove religious head wear.

  1. Retaliation for reporting discrimination

  • Finally, a person may experience religious discrimination if they are retaliated against for reporting discrimination, whether they were the original victim or not. In these cases, victims of discrimination may be able to seek compensation for the harm they suffered.

Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 43 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or

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