Charleston, WV Religious Discrimination Attorney
Work is an important part of millions of Americans’ lives; it is the means in which they find a professional purpose, provide for themselves and their families, and enjoy the community within their careers. Yet, work is certainly not everything, and Americans have an integral, Constitutional right to follow the tenants of their religion. In fact, the First Amendment states that Congress cannot impede an individual’s religious practices or promote one religion over another.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthers the definition of Freedom of Religion by prohibiting discrimination in public and private employment. In essence, you have the right to be hired or not hired based on your skills and merit, but not because of your faith. If you feel that an employer or another individual has undertaken discriminatory action based on your religion, it is crucial to contact a Charleston, WV religious discrimination attorney immediately.
Understanding Religious Discrimination in West Virginia
While words like Catholic, Jew, and Muslim denote specific, long-established religions, the term “religion” is quite broad. According to the West Virginia Human Rights Act (WV Code of State Rules Sec. 77-3-3), “religion” in West Virginia is defined to include “all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.” The definition also includes, “moral and ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong, even if such beliefs are not held by the religious group to which the employee belongs.” The State’s definition of religion does not include mere personal preferences, or codes or social or political beliefs that are not associated with religious convictions shared by an organized group.
Following this definition of religion, the West Virginia Human Rights Act then states that it is unlawful to conduct any of the following:
- Discriminate concerning the terms, conditions, compensation, or privileges of employment unless the employer can show that he/she cannot reasonably accommodate an employee’s (or prospective employee’s) religious observance
- Use religion-based quota systems to limit or even deny employment
- Print notices or other materials indicating a preference, specification, or discrimination
- Elicit information about, keep a record of, or use an application that questions religious affiliation
Religious discrimination in the workplace can also take the form of derogatory comments or depictions of members of your religion, continuous scheduling of important tasks or other activities that conflict with an employee’s religious practice, and refusing to accommodate certain religious practices that do not present an undue burden to the employer.
Are You a Victim of Religious Discrimination?
Discriminatory action can be both subtle and obvious, and employers tend to justify their actions or cast down discrimination claims by saying that the discriminatory action was conducted for a legitimate reason, such as employee performance or company policy violations. To better understand if actions taken against you are discriminatory, in according with both the West Virginia Human Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discriminatory action is often broken up into three distinct categories, including:
Discrimination: Evidence against employer discrimination can be fairly clear. For example, an employer cannot refuse to hire all Muslims, promote solely Baptists, or fire all Mormons. Discrimination in the workplace can also arise if only Protestants are given fringe benefits, for example, or if only Sikhs were given more beneficial assignments.
Harassment: Harassment includes frequent or severe offensive remarks that create a hostile work environment or results in adverse employment decisions.
Reasonable Accommodation: Often the most difficult form of discrimination to prove, reasonable accommodation refers to the employer’s ability to accommodate for religious practices without undue burden. For example, an employer cannot refuse to hire someone because that person wants to pray five times a day, according to his/her religion.
Aside from knowing whether you’ve been a victim of religious discrimination, proving it to the courts is considerable difficult. With nearly 20 years serving thousands of clients in Charleston and throughout West Virginia, Attorney Charles M. Love has developed a keen understanding of workplace discriminatory practices and how employers (and others) try and cover them up.
Contact a Charleston, WV Religious Discrimination Attorney
Religious discrimination is not the American way, and our country wasn’t founded on ideals of bigotry. At the Love Law Firm in Charleston, WV, we take religious discrimination very seriously, and we’ll be the first to stand by your side and fight for your First Amendment and Civil rights. With extensive resources and notable knowledge of the intricacies and nuances of employment law, Attorney Charles Love is ready to take on employers, corporations, or public organizations of any size. We’ll put your interests at the forefront of our litigation strategy, and we’ll ensure that you are given an equitable and fair work environment.
You can reach us by phone at (304) 344-5683, by email, or by filling out our online form.
If you believe you have a case or you simply feel that an employer has undertaken a negative action due to your religious beliefs, contact the Love Law Firm today for a free consultation. Contingency fees are available.