The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Texas Labor Code prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees based on their faith, religious beliefs and practices. In other words, you have the right to freely exercise what you believe in, and your employer in Texas must accommodate your sincerely held religious beliefs and practices.
Religion, according to the law
Religion includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief. This means that employers must take into account not only an individual’s faith but also the practices or rituals associated with it. Additionally, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for religious-based requests from employees, such as a change in dress code or scheduling of shifts.
How religious discrimination can manifest in a workplace
When an employer puts forth policies that apply to everyone but disregard your religious practices and beliefs, they are indirectly discriminating against you by putting you in a difficult position that forces you to go against your faith or ways. An example would be banning specific clothing or grooming standards, such as the hijab or other headcoverings, symbolic bracelets or long beards, thus making it difficult for an individual to practice their faith.
Additionally, employers might favor individuals who are not part of a certain religion or discourage practices such as prayer breaks or attending religious services during work hours. Employers may also deny equal employment opportunities or promotions based on the employee’s religion.
What to do if you suspect religious discrimination in the workplace
Employment discrimination is illegal and strongly prohibited in Texas. If you feel as though your employer has violated your right to your religion, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The EEOC will investigate your case and determine if there are grounds for discrimination. If they find your employer guilty, they can provide remedies such as back pay, punitive damages and more.
People spend almost all their time at work; it is more like a second home to most people. Hence, discrimination of any kind can have damaging effects on someone’s quality of life. It is important to be aware of your rights and take prompt action if your employer or any other person has discriminated against you due to your religious beliefs or practices.