We should all have the right to hold religious beliefs without fear of repercussions in the workplace. Your ability to carry out your work and perform well is not impacted by your religion, and your employer should not base employment-related decisions on irrelevant factors. Your right to be free from religious harassment in the workplace was outlined in 1964 in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, many workers who are unsure of the meaning of religious harassment often fail to take the appropriate action to enforce their rights.
This is why it is important that you understand what religious harassment means in certain contexts. That way, you will be better equipped to take action when it is within your rights to do so.
What is religious harassment?
Harassment is generally the act of creating a hostile environment in the workplace through insensitive or inappropriate actions. When it comes to religious harassment, this treatment will be on the basis of the actual or perceived religious beliefs of the harassment victim.
What is an example of religious harassment?
Say, for example, that an employee at a company wears a headscarf due to their religious beliefs. This choice to wear a headscarf has no effect on the employee's ability to carry out the job they have been hired to do. However, they may find that they are subjected to relentless questioning about why they choose to wear the headscarf. They may also experience jokes being made about them, or they may even feel excluded from certain benefits within the organization. This would be a clear example of workplace discrimination and harassment.
What is enough to constitute a hostile working environment?
A legal claim for harassment can be supported with proof that a hostile environment was created. This means that you will need to show that your experience at work was significantly altered in a negative way. If you worry about entering your workplace, or feel embarrassed to interact with others, it is possible that you are experiencing a hostile work environment.
If you believe that you have been a victim of workplace religious harassment in Missouri, it is important to assert your legal rights.