Religious discrimination occurs when an individual is treated differently at any point in the employment process because of their religion, religious beliefs, or religious practices; or lack thereof. An individual rejected for employment, or an employee who is fired, denied a promotion, denied a pay raise, denied a training opportunity, harassed or otherwise harmed in their employment because of their religion, religious beliefs, or religious practices may have suffered unlawful religious discrimination. Unlawful religious discrimination may also include an employer’s denial of an employee’s request for a change in a workplace rule or policy as an “accommodation” of the employee’s religious beliefs and practices.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on religion. The federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII, and provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices, and policies. Covered are all private employers, state and local governments, and education institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. Also covered are private and public employment agencies and labor organizations.

Although federal law covers only employers with at least 15 employees, many states and even some cities and counties also have anti-discrimination laws that cover workplaces with fewer than 15 employees. Some of the state and local anti-discrimination laws may even be broader than federal law, or may even provide additional protections.

Employers not covered by federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws may also be subject to private civil lawsuits brought directly by an aggrieved individual on grounds such as “wrongful termination/discharge”, etc.