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Ways religious discrimination can manifest at work

Laws exist to protect employees from discrimination centered around gender, sexual orientation and race. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also offers protections for people's religions. 

People who practice Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity or another religion in the workplace can experience discrimination. It is critical for workers to understand when discrimination has occurred, so they can take the appropriate actions. 

Different forms of discrimination

Religious employees may need to take time off work to observe religious holidays. Some religions forbid work on certain days of the week. For example, people who go to a Hebrew Pentecostal church observe the Sabbath, which takes place from Friday night to Saturday night. A job that requires some employees to work on Saturdays would need to respect the religious individual's beliefs and allow him or her to take that time off. 

Employers also need to respect the religious garb employees may need to wear. Many Muslims choose to wear a hijab to express their faith. The employer would need to allow any Muslim employees to wear such a garment. 

Undue hardship and reasonable accommodation

The exception to these rules, and similar ones protected by the Civil Rights Act, would be if accommodating the employee would result in an undue hardship to the employer, company or other employees. For instance, taking a certain day of the week off work may simply be unreasonable for a particular business that needs all employees to be available on that day. A court would determine if undue hardship was present on a case-by-case basis. 

Employees should inform employers of what accommodations will be necessary before employment begins. A hiring manager cannot discriminate in the hiring process if an employee practices a certain faith as long as accommodating such a religion would not create an undue hardship. Keeping the lines of communication open throughout the course of employment will help greatly in avoiding any cases of discrimination. 

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