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Is your job in jeopardy because of religious discrimination?

You may practice a religion that differs from the faith most of your coworkers follow. Under the law, your employer cannot treat you less favorably than other employees because of your religious beliefs, but some employers do not follow the rules.

If it is becoming increasingly difficult for you to go to work each day because you feel the burden of religious discrimination, you can file a complaint, and you may want to seek legal assistance in doing so.

Adhering to reasonable accommodation

The Missouri Human Rights Act sets forth specific rules for employers to follow with respect to discrimination. The major takeaway is that an employer must allow “reasonable accommodation” for the religious practices of its employees, as long as this accommodation does not cause the business undue hardship. This means that your employer should permit flexible scheduling, a job reassignment if needed, voluntary substitution and other adjustments so you can more easily practice your faith. This might mean revising the employee handbook to include the approval of certain faith-related articles of wearing apparel, grooming requirements and practices required by your religion, such as daily prayer.

Prohibiting religious harassment

By Missouri law, you are free to engage in religious expression as long as this does not become an impediment to workplace efficiency and production and thus present “undue hardship.” On the other hand, you may find that the workplace has become an unpleasant, even hostile environment. Coworkers who are not tolerant of any beliefs they do not share might ignore you, taunt you, refuse to work with you or make fun of you, and it would not take long for them to make your working life unbearable.

The anti-harassment policy

A company can help to protect employees against discrimination by putting an anti-harassment policy in place. This should be among the first documents a new-hire sees when starting a new job. The policy should have guidelines for reporting harassment and for investigating incidents and correcting discriminatory behavior. If you believe the company you work for does not have such a policy, do not fail to bring it up when you file your complaint concerning religious discrimination.