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Religious Discrimination : 

Why does it happen? Religious Discrimination How does it happen? How can we stop it?

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There are many different types of beliefs in the world today…

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What is religious discrimination?

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Religious discrimination is when a person or a group is treated differently because of his/her belief systems.

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Religious Discrimination is a wide spread epidemic in America.

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Rising religious discrimination charges, increasing religious diversity in the United States and requests for guidance prompted the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to issue a new Compliance Manual Section under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC Addresses Religious Discrimination.

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“Religious- Based allegations accounted for the biggest increase in filed cases up to 21 percent over FY 2001.”

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There are two types of discrimination…

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Disparate treatment is when your employee shows preferences towards one religion or belief system.

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Harassment is when you are influenced by your employee to change or abandon your belief system.

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Here are some different court cases about discrimination.

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Saini V. All Saints Hague Center & Bungay & Paul. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held not only where an employee is harassed on the ground there will be religious discrimination s of his certain religious belief but also where he is harassed because of someone else's certain religious belief. Once an employee establishes that he has been harassed because his employer is pursuing a discriminatory policy against the religious beliefs held by another, that is sufficient to amount to discrimination. Here, the EAT decided that Saini had been subject to religious discrimination, as the reason why the board mistreated him was their desire to get rid of Chandel because he was a Hindu.

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That means that it is illegal for you to be wrongly treated because of people that you associate with or people that you interacted with!!!

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Another case is Davis Vs. Beason. This case was significant because it defined religious discrimination in a theistic way.

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But… In Torcaso Vs. Watkins that definition was changed to cover religions or beliefs that do not have a theistic definition!

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Are you being discriminated against?

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Here are some signs…

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If in your interview they asked you specific questions about your religion or belief system.

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If you are looked down on by your co-workers because of your religion or beliefs

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If you are treated differently from your co-workers because of what you believe in.

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What can you do about it? Find legal counsel! There are many laws that protect you!

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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 To enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.

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Legally you are allowed to file a suit against your employer if they discriminate against you in any way including… religious discrimination.

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Civil rights act of 1991 To amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to strengthen and improve Federal civil rights laws, to provide for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination, to clarify provisions regarding disparate impact actions, and for other purposes.

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What is the EEOC? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is charged with ending discrimination of any kind.

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The EEOC is here to help you! If you are being discriminated against then you need to tell someone immediately. End religious discrimination NOW!

Obviously there is lots of diversity in America : 

Obviously there is lots of diversity in America Sometimes that causes problems…

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So what does the law say about religious discrimination?



Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 : 

1 “Employers may not treat employees or applicants more or less favorably because of their religious beliefs or practices - except to the extent a religious accommodation is warranted. For example, an employer may not refuse to hire individuals of a certain religion, may not impose stricter promotion requirements for persons of a certain religion, and may not impose more or different work requirements on an employee because of that employee's religious beliefs or practices.” Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964

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Lynne Noyes sued Kelly Ser vices Corp for being passed over for a promotion the individual who received the promotion, like the alleged decision-maker, was a believer in the Fourth Way” (Presser, 2007, 140). “The basis of the claim was not her religious beliefs but the fact that she was not a member of a religious organization called the Fourth Way…

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 : 

2. Employees cannot be forced to participate -- or not participate -- in a religious activity as a condition of employment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964

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“They insisted that Rowsey favored those who ‘shared, adopted or mimicked’ his religious practices…Urban, for example said necessary equipment was withheld when he refused to follow Rowsey’s religious directives” (Tampa, 2001, 21). Steven Gross and Robert Urban filed a lawsuit against the University of South Florida for one their doctors, James Rowsey

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 : 

3. Employers must reasonably accommodate employees' sincerely held religious practices unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. A reasonable religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow the employee to practice his religion. An employer might accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices by allowing: flexible scheduling, voluntary substitutions or swaps, job reassignments and lateral transfers, modification of grooming requirements and other workplace practices, policies and/or procedures. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964

Reasonable Accommodation : 

Eliminates the conflict between employees work and religion It must eliminate the conflict not just lesson it Things like job changes, transfers, changes in employer procedures and guidelines Reasonable Accommodation

What are reasonable Accommodations? : 

“I need Good Friday off.” What are reasonable Accommodations? “I need to leave work early to help prepare for a church event.” “My hairstyle is a part of my religion.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 : 

4. An employer is not required to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs and practices if doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employers' legitimate business interests. An employer can show undue hardship if accommodating an employee's religious practices requires more than ordinary administrative costs, diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other employees' job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety, causes co-workers to carry the accommodated employee's share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964

Undue Hardship : 

Where do you draw the line? Undue Hardship A manager must provide accommodations unless…

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Practices require more than administrative costs

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Diminishes efficiency

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Infringes on other employees job rights/benefits

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Impairs workplace safety

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Causes coworkers to carry the accommodated employees share of the work

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Or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation

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You get the point …

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 : 

5. Employers must permit employees to engage in religious expression, unless the religious expression would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Generally, an employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect on workplace efficiency. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964

Useful Examples : 

(a) In informal settings, such as cafeterias and hallways, employees are entitled to discuss their religious views with one another, subject only to the same rules of order as apply to other employee expression. If an agency permits unrestricted nonreligious expression of a controversial nature, it must likewise permit equally controversial religious expression. Useful Examples

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(b) Employees are entitled to display religious messages on items of clothing to the same extent that they are permitted to display other comparable messages. So long as they do not convey any governmental endorsement of religion, religious messages may not typically be singled out for suppression.

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(c) Employees generally may wear religious medallions over their clothes or so that they are otherwise visible. Typically, this alone will not affect workplace efficiency, and therefore is protected.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 : 

6. Employers must take steps to prevent religious harassment of their employees. An employer can reduce the chance that employees will engage unlawful religious harassment by implementing an anti-harassment policy and having an effective procedure for reporting, investigating and correcting harassing conduct. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964

A few steps to stop religious discrimination : 

Stop the denial Remove the diversity training label. Focus on behavior! Commit to a plan of action A few steps to stop religious discrimination

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“Invocations of political correctness work in a number of nuanced ways to close down debates and trivialize issues, and effectively slow down progress towards achieving an anti-racist society” (Crawley, 2007, 498). Stop worrying about political correctness and get to the heart of the issue!

This means… : 

You may have to revise the organizations mission statement. Integrate work place relationship skills training into business initiatives Implement a top down strategy This means…

EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) : 

Established a 4 step procedure to handle discrimination cases. EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) 1. Complaint of discrimination being sent to the agency within 180 days of incident

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2. EEOC will categorize claim 3. EEOC will then send a detailed questionnaire to the agency in question and conduct investigation 4. Issuance of a Right to Sue issued to complaining party even if no cause is found

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Religious discrimination is an issue... Something needs to be done about it… So lets do something!

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