How to File a Religious Discrimination Claim With the EEOC

You are free to practice any religion you want; it is your right in U.S. If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your religion, you have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to provide you with the guidance and representation you require so that you have the best chance at collecting the maximum amount of compensation available to you.

Religion has been one of the few constants throughout all of human history. Every human has the right to believe whatever they want without being punished, especially in the workplace. But it hasn’t always been this way. It wasn’t too long ago that employers could take action against you because of your religion, like demote you, and it was within their legal right to do so. For example, a Catholic employer could have discriminated against a Buddhist worker and never give them the raise or promotion for which they were qualified. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 looked to change employers’ unethical behavior. And while a majority of employers follow the rules and do not discriminate against religion, some employers still hold biases against different religions. Religion plays an important part in many people’s lives – it is a part of their identity which cannot be separated from the whole.

California is an at-will state, which means that employers do not need a reason to fire you. As long as the reason for which they terminated you is not illegal, they are within their right. Unfortunately, some employers act based on these biases they have towards religions and illegally punish their employees for it. It is unlawful for employers to do so and gives employees the right to file a lawsuit against them. If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your religion, you need to get in touch with an employment lawyer so that you understand your rights and know how to exercise them. The experienced attorneys at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group can help you do exactly that.

What Is Religious Discrimination

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees for certain characteristics. Among such characteristics as race, sex, disability, country of origin, etc., religion is one of those aspects of life against which an employer cannot discriminate.

Discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer treats an individual or a group belonging to a protected class of people differently or unfavorably. Employers are not legally allowed to discriminate against employees throughout the entire employment process. This includes the interview process, termination, and everything that lies in between.

Thus, religious discrimination occurs when employers treat individuals differently because of their religion, religious beliefs, and/or request reasonable accommodation in order to continue their faith. It also protects people who lack religion or any practice or belief.

In general, we see three main kinds of religious discrimination which occurs in the workplace: 1) employment decisions based on religious preference; 2) harassment based on religious preference, and; 3) failing to reasonably accommodate religious practices.

How to File a Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

In order to submit a lawsuit against your employer, you must first file a charge with a government employment agency. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency, and the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) is the agency at the state level; both agencies are available to all California workers.

Under the EEOC, you only have 180 calendar days to file a charge with the government agency. If, however, the state has anti-discrimination laws which coincide with federal laws the deadline, or statute of limitations, is extended.

The state of California protects employees against religious discrimination, and so the deadline is extended. The deadline to file a charge with either the DFEH or the EEOC is extended to 300 calendar days from the day you received the discrimination. If the discrimination occurred over an extended period of time, the statute of limitations begins its countdown on the day you last received discrimination.

The EEOC and DFEH have a work-sharing agreement in order to keep records as organized as possible. Being in a work-sharing agreement means that when you file a charge with one agency, an identical copy is created and sent to the other agency. This process is known as dual-filing and serves to protect your rights under both federal and state laws best.

The DFEH or the EEOC will then launch an investigation. If you are still employed after the religious discrimination, your job is protected. In other words, your boss cannot discipline you during the investigation. Furthermore, if the investigation fails to come to a conclusion, your employer is barred from taking action against you.

If the agency determines that it was more likely than not that your employer discriminated against you because of your religion, you can then request a “right-to-sue” letter. We recommend that you only request this letter once you and your attorney are ready to take your employer to court as you only have 90 days to take action.

The Process of Filing a Charge With the EEOC (or DFEH)

Walk-In: Each office has its own procedures which are unique to it in regards to walk-in appointments, so make sure to check your local office’s procedures.

It is always a good idea to bring any documents or papers which are relevant to your case. For example, if you were fired because of your religion, you may want to bring performance evaluations, the notice of your termination, and the names of any witnesses which can testify on your behalf.

While you certainly do not need to bring an attorney for this process, you should know that the intricacies of employment law are complex and anything you exclude from or include in your paperwork can come back to haunt you later in the process.

By Mail: You have the option to mail in your charge. If you wish to mail in your charge to the EEOC, it is important that you include the following information:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number;
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the employer you wish to file your charges against;
  • The number of employees at the company (if it is known);
  • A description of the events or actions which you believe were discriminatory (for example, you were demoted, harassed, denied benefits);
  • When and where the events took place;
  • Why you believe the actions were of a discriminatory nature (for example, your employer disciplined you because of your religion;
  • Your signature! It is important to include your signature in this document because, without it, the EEOC is not legally allowed to launch any investigation.

The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to protect your rights if you believe that you were discriminated against because of your religion. If you were discriminated against, you have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer. Our experienced attorney can help you through every step of the process – including filing a charge. We offer free consultation and the zero-fee guarantee, so there’s no financial risk on your part! Call us today to see how we can help you.

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