Articles Posted in religious discrimination

Los Angeles religious discrimination attorneys know that the disparate treatment received by Muslims has been on the rise the last two decades. What is also now being reported by the Pew Research Center is that many now also perceive a substantial rise in discrimination against those of the Jewish faith and nationality. religious discrimination employment attorney

The percentage of Americans saying Jewish people face “at least some” discrimination spiked by 20 percent just in the last three years.  It is now up to 64 percent. The share of those saying Jewish people face “a lot” of discrimination at work, in education and housing nearly doubled in that same time frame, going from 13 percent to 24 percent. Although views on this are varying depending on party lines (with Democrats being more likely than Republicans to indicate they’ve seen a spike in discrimination) both sides see a shift.

The survey was conducted this month among more than 1,500 adults, who also stated there is either some or a lot of discrimination in America against those who are Muslim, black, Hispanic, gay, lesbian and women. Muslims in particular are recognized as suffering discrimination, with more than 8 in 10 respondents agreeing they face some discrimination and more than half saying they face a lot. Among the nine groups about which respondents answered, this was the highest.

Jurors awarded $21 million to plaintiff in a religious discrimination lawsuit after she, a devout Christian, was fired from her hotel dishwasher position, in part for refusal to work Sundays. As our Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, an employer who fails to make reasonable accommodations for a worker’s sincerely-held beliefs can be found in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. religious discrimination work

At the crux of whether an accommodation is reasonable is if the requested accommodation would impose an undue hardship, defined as a more than minimal burden on the business. A religious practice can be considered “sincerely-held” to a person even if it’s newly-adopted, not observed with consistency or varies from the commonly-followed tenants of the religion.

The 60-year-old mother-of-six plaintiff in this case, in addition to being a dishwasher and immigrant from Haiti, is part of a Catholic missionary church that aids the poor. According to her federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami, she informed her employer – a posh downtown hotel – that she informed her employer of the need for accommodation when she first started her job, and specifically cited her religious beliefs. Sunday, according to Christian religious texts, is supposed to be a day of rest and devotion to God. Continue reading

It is illegal – in California and across the U.S., per the EEOC –  to discriminate against a job applicant based on their race, color, religion, gender (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy) national origin, age (over 40), disability or genetic information. Yet one of the most frequently-used forums to lure new hires has essentially been facilitating just that, according to critics and a few employment lawsuits filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Communication Workers of America. Los Angeles employment discrimination attorney

Social media giant Facebook has faced years of criticism that it allowed companies advertising job listings to use key categories allowing employers to cherry-pick who their ads would be shown to based on age group, gender and race. The New York Times now reports Facebook has agreed it will stop doing this.

It’s not just prospective employees that have been complaining either. Those advertising credit and housing have also been allowed to screen their ads so that they would only show to a certain subset of social media users. (Housing and credit are also regulated by federal anti-discrimination laws that bar selection of applicants on such bases.) Continue reading

In order to be successful in claiming employment discrimination in California, employees must first assert they are part of a protected class that received unfair treatment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains that to discriminate means to treat someone less favorably and disparately, with federal protections extending to individuals on the basis of gender, religion, color, race, national origin, disability or age (over 40). In California, unlawful practices spelled out by the Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 outlines protections for these classes, but also for:

  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Gender identity/gender expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military or veteran statusemployment discrimination attorney Los Angeles

Part of the reason California’s additional protected classes matter is they go farther than federal law, giving unfairly-treated employees more options to pursue action.

As Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can explain, “protected classes” aren’t merely limited to minorities. But employment discrimination is often subtle – and doesn’t necessarily need to actually be a part of a protected class in order to be protected. Discrimination based on the perception of belonging or association with others in these classes can be actionable in California employment discrimination cases too.

Perceived Protected Class Employment Discrimination Continue reading

For subjecting employees to religious discrimination at work with its haircut policy, package delivery company UPS has agreed to pay $5 million. Los Angeles religious discrimination attorneys understand company uniform policy was that males who interacted with customers maintain hair above collar length and never grow a beard (no facial hair below the lip). The problem with this, according to numerous former employees and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is that this rule conflicted with their faith, which required them to keep their hair and beards uncut.Los Angeles religious discrimination attorney

Business Insider reports the policy was specific to workers who had interactions with customers. Beards and long hair were allowed, however, for those employees who worked positions that were back-of-the-house. This put advancement limitations on employees from a number of religious faiths, including:

  • Islam
  • Rastafarianism
  • Orthodox Christianity
  • Sikhism
  • Native American religions

Each of these faiths has provisions that instruct men – either always or sometimes – to maintain long hair and facial hair. Applicants, employees and former employees were often forced to choose, the EEOC said, whether they should go against the teachings of their religion or whether they really wanted to land or keep that UPS job (or hoped to advance any further in it than stocking). Some applicants were told, “No haircut, no job.” Requests for accommodation by these men were rejected.  Continue reading

One of the biggest challenges as a California religious discrimination attorney is to determine whether adverse employment action occurred in fact as a result of prejudice stemming from negative views of the employee’s faith or whether some other reason justified the firing. Orange County religious discrimination lawyer

Recently, the San Bernardino Superior Court determined after a six-week rial that a 44-year-old hospital warehouse employee had been harassed and ultimately fired by his supervisors specifically because of religious beliefs. Plaintiff was awarded $3.2 million in damages following a six-week long trial.

Defendant hospital still insists the reason for the worker’s termination had nothing to do with his religious beliefs, but rather because of alleged threatening conduct. The hospital still has the option of appealing the California religious discrimination lawsuit verdict, thought it’s not clear if they will.  Continue reading

A construction worker in Oregon has filed an employment lawsuit alleging religious discrimination and retaliation after he was fired for refusing to attend a mandatory weekly Christian Bible study.religious discrimination

The 34-year-old Native American said he expressed to his boss/ the business owner discomfort about going to the Bible study and even indicated it was probably illegal, but was told it was a condition of employment for which he would be paid. Although he still wasn’t comfortable with it, as a convicted felony, he badly needed the job and didn’t want to lose it. So he attended the once-weekly hour-long session, conducted by a Christian pastor. He did this for several months, but then finally said he could no longer stomach it and stopped going. He was fired soon thereafter.

In filing his religious discrimination employment lawsuit, plaintiff’s attorney said the case is clear-cut: A non-religious employer can’t require employees to go to a Bible study – paid or otherwise. It can be offered as a voluntary option, but it can’t be mandated as a condition of employment and employers can’t retaliate against workers who choose not to go. The attorney representing defendant business owner, meanwhile, asserts the requirement was not unlawful for at-will employees who were paid to go and it was considered part of their job. Further, defense attorney insists plaintiff wasn’t fired, but rather was an on-call employee who simply found other work while he was still on-call for the defendant.  Continue reading

The question of religious liberties in schools is being pushed to the limits with a recent case out of the state of religious discriminationWashington. A former assistant coach at high school just outside of Seattle lost his job after he was asked to stop praying after football games on the field and he refused. He is now seeking help from the Supreme Court to overturn the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals‘s rejection of his appeal earlier this year. Plaintiff claims his religious and personal rights have been infringed upon by the district, according to Seattle Times.

The question boils down to where the line is for the personal rights of school employees when in the presence of students. It is well known that in public schools, school-sponsored prayer is not allowed, nor is the teaching of a religion. This would be a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents the passage of any law that would establish a religion. Schools are funded by tax dollars, making school employees government workers who are accountable to holding up constitutional liberties. Teaching about religions in general and their place in history is allowed. It is less clear, however, the ways in which public servants, including teachers, are allowed to express their personal religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court has addressed prayer in schools many times over. In 1962, the historic case of Engel v. Vitale arose when parents objected to prayer recitation at the beginning of the school day, even though it was voluntary. The court determined such a practice was unconstitutional because a state official was deciding on a religious message to share with students and encouraging its recitation. In 2000, the court ruled 6-3 in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe that prayer before a football game, even if led by students, was still the imposition of a religion at a school event in such a way that students who do not practice that religion would feel coerced into participation as a result of social pressures. Where, then, is the line between personal free speech and the enactment of a certain religion when it comes to students and teachers?

Continue reading

wrongful terminationTwo cheerleaders have filed lawsuits against the National Football League for what they say was wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment. One cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints was dismissed after she posted a bathing suit photo of herself online, and another for the Miami Dolphins left after she was allegedly harassed for publicly discussing her choice to remain abstinent until marriage.

What do they most hope to get out of the lawsuits? Change.

In a surprise turn of events, their attorney recently offered to drop the lawsuits in exchange for a $1 settlement and a face-to-face talk with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to an article from The Nation. They want a good faith conversation about how to set clear guidelines going forward that are fair to all employees. The two plaintiffs have very different stories that they allege concluded with the same result: discrimination and loss of their dream jobs. Continue reading

Federal law protects the right to practice your religion as you see fit, with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee for their religious beliefs, as well as race, color, sex, or national origin. Employers must also provide reasonable accommodations for employees to practice their religion “unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship.”religious discrimination

However, this is not the only way religion can affect the work place. Take for example a recent lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in which a discount medical plan provider and its parent company were recently ordered to pay 10 former employees a sum of $5.1 million, after plaintiffs claimed management within the company wanted them to participate in specific religious practices and allegedly retaliated against them when they refused, according to Newsday. Continue reading