With the flu season in full swing, many employers are promoting optional seasonal flu vaccines to ward off the spread of illness in the workplace. But one hospital in Pennsylvania recently learned that its mandatory seasonal flu vaccine requirement for employees violated federal religious discrimination laws. And now, the hospital has been ordered to pay up.
As an employee of faith, it can be difficult to navigate your religious rights at work. This is especially true if a religious holiday or observance isn’t heavily commercialized or mainstream like Hanukkah or Christmas. While employers are legally obligated to at least try to offer religious accommodation, you may still be hesitant to ask your boss for time off for religious reasons. But you don’t have to be fearful. Both federal and California employment laws protect workers from discrimination due to religion. And if you work in California, state law actually offers much stronger employee protections than federal law.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) endeavor to prevent workplace discrimination.
Recently, the EEOC shared new religious discrimination guidelines to ensure that employees and job applicants of Muslim and Middle Eastern descent in California and elsewhere are protected under federal employment law.
Are you experiencing religious discrimination in the workplace? If you think you have been subjected to illegal religious discrimination by your employer, it’s important to know that your employee rights and religious freedom are protected under both California and Federal law – including accommodations for prayer, time off for religious services, and time off for religious holidays.
Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit employee discrimination based on religion and requires employers to accommodate the sincere religious beliefs or practices of employees unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the business. Religious discrimination can come in a variety of forms and occurs when an employee or job applicant is subjected to negative treatment by their employer because of his or her religion. These unlawful behaviors range from denial of shifts, denial of raises, denial of promotions, and even wrongful termination.