Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Act prohibits religious discrimination.
This federal anti-discrimination law means your employer may not discriminate
against you “because of” your religious beliefs. The law also
prohibits harassment based on your religious beliefs as well as retaliation
against you for complaining about religious discrimination or for participating
in someone else’s religious discrimination case.
Federal religious discrimination law provides three separate protections:
• Your employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate your religious
beliefs and practices in the workplace;
• Your employer may not impose its religious views on you or permit
your co-employees to impose their religious views on you; and • Your
employer may not take adverse action against you (including harassment)
because of your religious beliefs.
If you have questions about religious discrimination or believe that you
have been discriminated against due to your beliefs, it is important to
consult with an experienced
Atlanta religious discrimination lawyer right away.
Whether a firmly held belief or moral conviction rises to the level where
it is protected by religious discrimination laws is not always clear-cut.
A knowledgeable Georgia discrimination lawyer can review your case and
provide critical advice concerning your next steps.
In a recent case from Ohio,
Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hosp. Med. Center, a nurse, Sakile Chenzira refused to get a flu vaccine citing her vegan beliefs.
Because the vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, the shot is contrary to
her moral beliefs. Whether Chenzira was entitled to bring a claim for
religious discrimination turned in part on how strongly she held her convictions.
Where your beliefs and convictions fall within the definition of “religion”
under law your employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate you.
This includes practices such as allowing you to wear a religious head
covering or engage in prayers, as long as it is not “unduly burdensome”
on your employer, i.e. prohibitively expensive, disruptive to your employer’s
business or a safety hazard.
Here, the court evaluated whether the hospital was required to accommodate
Chenzira’s refusal to submit to a flu shot and whether a serious
belief in veganism rises to the level of a religious conviction under
the law. The hospital argued that veganism is simply a social philosophy
or dietary preference and not a religious conviction so it did not have
to accommodate Chenzira’s flu shot refusal under Title VII. However,
the court rejected this argument.
Instead, Judge S. Arthur Spiegel said, the conclusion that veganism may
be entitled to the protections of Title VII and its Ohio counterpart is
supported by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations, which
define “religious practices” to include “moral or ethical
beliefs as to what is right and wrong” when such beliefs “are
sincerely held with the strength of religious views.”
As a result, because it is quite possible that Chenzira “could subscribe
to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views,”
the court determined that her claim for religious discrimination based
on veganism should be allowed to continue.
If you have questions about religious discrimination or believe you have
suffered discrimination at work, please contact the top
Atlanta religious discrimination attorneys at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.