Religious Discrimination Affects the Non-Religious as well

Religious discrimination is pervasive in much of the United States. Jews, Muslims, Christians and others face oppression based on their beliefs and culture.


Our Costa Mesa employment lawyers know that nonbelievers also suffer for being out of the mainstream. Discrimination against atheists occurs in the United States with some regularity.

Although American democracy places a great deal of importance on freedom of religious belief in its constitution. But even in the tolerant environment of the United States, atheists can face discrimination because they’re sometimes viewed as troublemakers.

Thirteen countries impose the death penalty for atheism, the group reported, all of them Muslim. Many others use criminal sanctions to punish atheists. “Blasphemy laws that outlaw criticism of protected religions or religious figures and institutions” carry the harshest penalties, while laws against “hate speech” come with lesser punishments.

“Religious privilege,” the report concluded, is one of the most common forms of religious discrimination against atheists. Religious privilege is the special benefits conveyed by society on a religious majority.

The report included religious privilege and discrimination in countries like the United States, where proponents of religious privilege claim it is harmless and merely ceremonial and traditional in nature.

The government isn’t always responsible for discrimination against atheists, but they often contribute to the problem by failing to do anything about abuse.

Workplace discrimination against atheists is frequently dismissed by the religious, but the freedoms that apply to religious individuals should also apply to atheists.

The issue of complete religious tolerance and freedom is important for everyone who cares about religious and intellectual freedom.

Individuals who are not religious may feel uncomfortable when the topic comes up in the workplace.

According to research about 43 percent of non-religious individuals identified feeling either “somewhat” or “very uncomfortable” when the topic is discussed.

Although the American employment environment is a very diverse arena, the most frequent forms of workplace tension with regard to religions come directly from the employer themselves.

Often the problem is that organizations fail to provide accommodations that are sufficient for Christians and non-Christians alike. About half of all survey respondents indicated that their employers were ignoring their religious needs.

Other important research findings include:

• About one quarter of all respondents reported being required to work on a religious holiday or attend work events that did not include the appropriate forms of kosher food.
• A little over half of all employees reported their employer lacked flexibility in scheduling to allow them time to pray and permit other religious observances.
• Finally, only about 40% of workers explained that their company had materials explaining the company policy with regard to religious discrimination.

As the number of non-believers and non-Christians in the workplace increases employers must better adapt to allow all individuals the ability to comfortably exercise their beliefs without interfering with the beliefs of others.

Costa Mesa employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 949.375.4734.

More Blog Entries:

California Man Files Disability and Age Discrimination Suit, January 5, 2014, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog

LGBT Workplace Discrimination Statistics, December 30, 2013, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog

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