Discrimination Based on Religious Creed in California

Discrimination in the United States workplace can occur and be entrenched in numerous different stereotypes that fuel said discrimination and harassment. The most common forms of discrimination are racial discrimination and sex discrimination, but other types are, sadly, present as well. 

Fortunately, most forms of discrimination are prohibited across the U.S. and on a federal level, with certain states and cities implementing their own interpretations of the law. Sometimes, certain groups may not fall under the protected group status on a federal level, but are protected on a local level. 

Our legal team specializes in providing assistance and representing clients that have experienced various forms of discrimination in the workplace, including discrimination based on religious creed in California. If you or anyone else have been targeted in the workplace and discriminated against or harassed, we are happy to help. Here’s what you need to know:

Definition of Religious Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws that forbid employers from treating you less favorably because you, a friend, a parent, or someone else, hold specific religious beliefs, belong to religious creeds, or are non-believers. 

The laws that the EEOC enforces provide protection to people who sincerely hold their beliefs, be it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, or any other traditional organized religion. These protections also apply to non-traditional beliefs such as Rastafarianism and Wicca. Non-believers are also protected (atheists and agnostics). 

On top of that, these protections extend to harassment as well; no one is allowed to harass you because of your beliefs. 

On the other side of the coin, you are eligible to request certain changes to the workplace to accommodate your religious beliefs (as long as these changes are reasonable). These requests are referred to as “religious accommodations”. 

Employers are not obligated to grant each religious accommodation request but must carefully consider each request before making a decision. This is because unless the workplace change would be too drastic, costly, or cause inefficiency in the workplace (or any other reason that would cause significant issues for the company), they will have to grant the request. 

Religious accommodation requests can include:

  • Reasonable time off for religious observances
  • Dressing (clothing that’s required by the employee’s faith)
  • Religious grooming practices
  • Decisions not to wear certain clothing (miniskirts, pants, etc.) if it goes against the employee’s faith

What are Employers Prohibited from Doing?

As for what employers are forbidden from doing (on top of discriminating or harassing employees due to their beliefs), they cannot make employment decisions such as:

  • Lowering your pay or reducing your rate
  • Demoting you to a lower position (usually less paid)
  • Refusing you your contractually-given leave
  • Refusing certain workplace benefits
  • Treating you differently than other employees
  • Firing you or moving you to a different workplace
  • Punishing you for pointing out religious discrimination or harassment in the workplace

These are just some examples but overall, they are not allowed to make any employment decisions that may negatively impact your livelihood, health, and job stability. 

Job segregation is also prohibited (placing employees of the same faith or belief together in one area purely because they share the same faith/belief). 


Freeburg & Granieri law firm has extensive experience helping and representing clients from all kinds of discrimination. This includes discrimination based on religious creed in California. 

The legal mechanisms that exist to protect employees from discrimination and harassment are used to hold the perpetrators liable, whether they’re your employers, colleagues, or customers (if you interact with them). 

Want us to help you? Schedule a free consultation with our legal specialists, who will provide assistance in multiple forms, including giving you pointers and additional information you may need. The consultation will cover the necessary steps going forward, so it’s important to give us as much info as possible so we can help you the best we can.


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