The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a powerful guardian against discrimination, expressly prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s religious creed, religious observance, and beliefs. This blog explores the significance of FEHA’s commitment to preventing religious discrimination in the workplace.
FEHA’s Fundamental Principle
One of the key tenets of this legislation is the explicit prohibition of discrimination based on an individual’s religion.
Expansive Definition of Religion
FEHA takes a broad approach to the concept of religion. Its protection goes beyond traditional organized religions. A particular belief, observance, or practice is protected by the FEHA if it is sincerely held and occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those religions admittedly qualifying for the protection. The worker’s beliefs, observances, and practices must occupy a place of importance parallel to that of traditionally recognized religions.
A three-part test applies:
- A religion addresses fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and imponderable matters (e.g., the meaning and purpose of life, theories of humankind’s nature or its place in the universe, matters of human life and death, or the exercise of faith);
- A religion is comprehensive, consisting of a belief system as opposed to an isolated teaching; and
- A religion can be recognized by the presence of certain formal and external signs.
Accommodating Religious Practices
FEHA places an affirmative obligation on employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of their employees, provided that such accommodations do not create undue hardship for the business. This may include adjusting work schedules, and dress codes, or permitting time off for religious observances.
Freedom from Harassment
Religious harassment is a clear violation of the FEHA. Employers must take proactive measures to prevent and address religious-based harassment in the workplace, ensuring that employees can perform their duties in an environment free from hostility.
FEHA goes beyond preventing discrimination by also safeguarding employees against retaliation for asserting their rights under the act. If an employee files a complaint or participates in an investigation related to religious discrimination (https://www.akopyanlaw.com/religious-discrimination/), they are protected from any adverse actions taken by the employer in response.
FEHA encourages educational efforts to raise awareness about religious diversity and to promote a culture of tolerance and understanding in the workplace. Employers are urged to provide training to employees to ensure a harmonious and inclusive work environment.
Contact Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. for Advice about Religious Discrimination
FEHA’s commitment to eradicating religious discrimination from California workplaces is a testament to the state’s dedication to diversity, equality, and respect.
Employees in Southern California with questions about religious discrimination or those wondering if they have a case against an employer should contact Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. We’ll provide a complimentary evaluation and may offer contingency fee services. Trust the experts at Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. for proven results and positive testimonials.