Religious discrimination is, unfortunately, a reality even in modern times. People often see differing treatment based on what they believe. When this happens in the workplace, it is illegal. 

To understand why it happens, you first have to know about the major religious beliefs in the country. The Pew Research Center breaks it down like this:

  • Christian: 70.6%
  • Unaffiliated: 22.8%
  • Jewish: 1.9%
  • Muslim: 0.9%
  • Buddhist: 0.7%
  • Hindu: 0.7%
  • Other: 0.3%

Even within these categories, you have some notable differences. For instance, of those who are unaffiliated, 15.8% claimed they did not have anything they believed, while 4.0% were agnostic and 3.1% were atheists. Within the “Christian” category that makes up the greatest overall percentage, 25.4% were Protestants, 20.8% were Catholic, and so forth. 

This is important to note because you could potentially have discrimination even between two people within the same category. While an outsider may think that the religions are generally the same, those within those religions may be more observant of the differences and could discriminate on that basis. 

No matter how or why it happens, though, it’s illegal under worker protection laws. Employers cannot discriminate by firing workers, refusing to hire them, paying them less, denying them benefits, giving them undesired tasks or anything else. If this does happen, it can really create a hostile workplace and may impact someone’s career dramatically. These workers must know what legal steps they can take to protect their own rights and ensure fair treatment for all.