It is against the law in California for an employer to discriminate against an employee the basis of race, religion, or national origin. Employees who are victims of such discrimination often have a potential legal claim under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, which forbids harassment or discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, promotions, layoffs, training, recruitment, and employee benefits.
Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.
Examples of religious discrimination may include the following:
- Offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s moral or religious beliefs
- Failing to hire, train, mentor or promote a person based on their religious beliefs
- Paying an employee less or providing them fewer benefits on account of their religious beliefs
- Refusing to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices
- Refusing to make exceptions to dress codes in recognition of requirements for religious dress
- Intentionally negative and malicious performance evaluations
State and Federal law prohibit employers from unlawful retaliation against employees who oppose religious discrimination or participate in an anti-discriminatory proceeding, even if they are “at-will” employees. If an employee has been fired in retaliation for engaging in such activities, they may have a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.