If you are harassed or treated unfairly at work because of your religion, you may be the victim of religious discrimination in the workplace. Federal and local laws prohibit employers, CEOs, supervisors or managers, co-workers, clients or customers, vendors, and other non-employees from making any employment decisions based on an employee’s or job applicant’s religion. For over 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group in Miami have helped people, just like you, get the compensation they deserve.
What is Discrimination Based on Religion in Miami?
Religious discrimination occurs when an employer or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer, CEO, supervisor or manager, client or customer, co-worker, vendor, or other non-employee because of religious beliefs or associations. Whether the employee is terminated, demoted, harassed, received a reduction in pay, or is denied practicing the religion, or a job applicant is refused an interview or a position if it is based on religious beliefs or associations, is it illegal and should not be tolerated.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the federal law that protects employees and job applicants of companies of 15 or more employees from being treated poorly or harassed because of their religious beliefs, differences, or associations.
The Florida Civil Rights Act is the local law that prohibits employers of companies with 15 or more employees from harassing or treating employees and job applicants unfairly based on religious beliefs, difference, or associations
Evidence is key to proving any type of discrimination in the workplace. In order to prove religious discrimination, you must have either direct evidence, disparate evidence, or policy evidence.
- Direct Evidence. This is the type of evidence that is very hard to dispute. When you are told or receive in writing that the reason for your unfair treatment or harassment at work is based on your religion, you have direct evidence. Often called the “smoking gun,” direct evidence can be verbal or in writing. It can be said directly to you or sent directly to you, or it can be said to someone else about you or sent to someone else.
- Disparate Evidence. Although a bit more common, this type of evidence creates a bit more work to prove. However, it can be very compelling with the right documentation. Disparate evidence is when you can show there is a direct relationship between the negative treatment or harassment and your religion or association with others of a certain religion.
- Policy Evidence. When a policy is discriminatory by nature, simply following it can create a situation of religious discrimination in the workplace. This policy can then be used as evidence for your religious discrimination claim.
There are many examples of religious discrimination. It can occur subtly, by a simple out of place comment, or more drastically, like blatant anti-Semitism. Here are some examples of religious discrimination in the workplace.
- Denying Muslim employees prayer breaks throughout the day
- Refusing to allow a Jewish employee off for the High Holy Days
- Terminating an employee for complaining about anti-Semitic slurs being used in the office
- Co-workers making fun of a Muslim woman’s hijab in the workplace, even after she repeatedly asked for the behavior to stop
- Refusing to allow an employee to work on a case because the client does not like people who are not Roman Catholic
- Denying newly married employee benefits for their new spouse because it is an inter-faith marriage
- Sending offensive religious jokes out via email to all employees, even after complaints about the emails had been made to a supervisor
- Posting Nazi propaganda in your cubicle
- Demoting an employee who refused to hide his religion at work
- Refusing a promotion to an employee because she is Hindu
- Forcing employees to go against religious dietary restrictions at company outings
- Preaching to employees about God and insisting they come to a certain religion or they will go to Hell
A Title Vii claim should be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The time limit to file the claim in Miami is 300 days. The EEOC will investigate the claim to make sure it falls within the guidelines for religious discrimination under federal law and issue a Right to Sue letter if the investigation goes in your favor. From there you can file a claim with the federal courts within 90 days.
Any claim under the Florida Civil Rights Act will need to be filed with the Florida Civil Rights Commission within 1 year of the date of the last incident. The Florida Civil Rights Commission will investigate the claim to make sure it falls under the guidelines of the laws for religious discrimination and issue you a Right to Sue letter. Under Florida’s work-sharing agreement, if you file a claim with the EEOC or the Florida Civil Rights Commission, the claim will also be filed with the other organization to find the best laws to help your case.
You are not going to file a lawsuit unless you are going to get some type of relief from the courts. Miami courts may offer the following remedies for your case against your employer:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for discriminatory behavior
- Reviewing and revamping religious discrimination policies
- Attorney’s fees
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
A religious discrimination claim in Miami may take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or more to settle. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement, your case may settle in as little as 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer is not willing to negotiate a fair settlement, you will likely go to trial, which may take 8 months to a year or longer to prepare. The trial may then take a few days to several weeks or longer for a judgment to be entered by the court.
The law typically does not make exceptions for any organization or institution. However, religious organizations are permitted to make hiring decisions based on religion, as that is their organization’s defining characteristic. Therefore, a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious organization may choose to only hire individuals who practice the same belief structure without violating religious discrimination laws.
As a victim of religious discrimination in the workplace, it is natural that you are taking your time to decide your next move. However, while you make that decision, here are a few things you can do to help move your case along:
- Contact an experienced religious discrimination attorney immediately.
- If you are still employed, do not quit your job without consulting your attorney first.
- If your company has an HR department, file a complaint in writing regarding the discrimination.
- If your company has a religious discrimination policy, follow it.
- Gather evidence. Document every incident, including what occurred, who was involved, when and where it happened, and any witnesses.
- Do not waste time. You have a year to file your claim. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced Religious Discrimination Attorneys in Miami Today for Your Free Consultation
Freedom of religion should apply to every aspect of your life, including your job. NO employee should be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. If you are the victim of religious discrimination, the attorneys at the Derek Smith LawGroup (one of FindLaw’s top discrimination attorneys in Miami) can help. We have helped our clients win over $165,000,000, and we want to help you. Contact us today at (305) 946-1884 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.
Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle in Miami:
- Race Discrimination
- Color Discrimination
- National Origin Discrimination
- Age (over 40) Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Gender or Sex Discrimination
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination
- Ethnic Discrimination
- LGBT Discrimination
- Hair Discrimination