What Can You Do to Protect Your Rights When You Are Treated Differently because of Your Religious Practices?
As a worker in the state of Texas, you have protection, under both state and federal law, when you are denied equal benefits, equal pay or equal access to career opportunities because of your religion. The Texas Labor Code specifically bans discrimination in hiring, termination or other conditions of employment based on a person’s religious beliefs of practices. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal statute, also prohibits workplace discrimination based on religious observances, practices or beliefs. Title VII mandates that employers make “reasonable” accommodations to allow workers to engage in their religious practices, including schedule changes or leave for certain religious ceremonies, services or observances. It also calls for latitude in dress codes that reasonably permit head coverings and other religious garb. An employer is also forbidden from engaging in any retaliatory acts directed at workers who question or oppose religious discrimination.
Nonetheless, unequal treatment because of one’s religion is far too common in the American workplace. What are your options when you have been the victim of wrongful discrimination at work because of your religious practices or beliefs? What does the process look like?
What Are the Remedies Available to Victims of Religious Discrimination at Work?
As a victim of workplace discrimination, you have the right to take legal action to accomplish a number of objectives:
- You can seek reinstatement to a former job, as well as a mandatory promotion, if wrongfully terminated or denied advancement
- You can ask for both back pay and “front” pay, which covers any compensation lost while a legal proceeding is still pending
- You can be granted seniority retroactively, as well as any benefits that go with that seniority
- You can seek damages of any monetary losses caused by the wrongful conduct
- You may be able to get attorney fees paid by the party who wrongfully discriminated against you
How Does the Process Work?
The process differs somewhat, depending on whether you are a federal or non-federal employee:
- As a federal employee, you must begin the legal process by contacting your agency’s equal employment officer—you must do this within 45 days of any alleged violation. Your EEO officer will then attempt to informally resolve the matter. If that cannot be done, you must submit a written complaint within 15 days of receiving notice of the EEO officer’s inability to resolve the dispute. If the agency investigation finds insufficient evidence of discrimination, you have 90 days (from the receipt of such notice) to file a civil complaint for wrongful discrimination in federal district court.
- As a non-federal worker, you must initially file a complaint with the local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC must be notified within 180 days of the purported violation of your rights. If the EEOC determines that your allegations have merit, they will attempt to negotiate a resolution. If they cannot, you may bring a civil lawsuit. You must, however, wait 90 days after the EEOC’s failure to find a resolution, and you must ask the EEOC for a “right-to-sue” letter.
Contact the Proven Anti-Discrimination Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand how discrimination in the workplace can affect you, both physically and psychologically. If you have been denied a raise or promotion, given undesirable work assignments or otherwise treated differently on the job because of your religious beliefs and practices, we can help. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective anti-discrimination attorney, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.