Best Ohio Religious Discrimination Attorney Answer: If I practice the Muslim faith, does my employer have to allow me to pray during the work day? Can my employer mandate when I can pray during the work day? What should I do if I was fired today because of my religious practices?
At The Spitz Law Firm, LLC, our employment lawyers look tirelessly at trends that may lead to heightened discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, a current trend of discrimination against those who practice the Muslim faith is impossible to miss. While discrimination and singling out of Muslims has been happening all too often for a long time, certain events and influential figures have created a storm where discrimination against Muslims is brushed off and even accepted by some. Events such as the November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks and the December 2, 2015 San Bernardino shooting, which both had ties to the terrorist group that refers to themselves as the “Islamic State,” have caused a firestorm of anti-Muslim sentiment. This sentiment has even manifested itself in the 2016 Presidential Election, where Republican front-runner Donald Trump called for a halt of Muslim immigrants being allowed to enter America.
Fortunately, the law makes very clear that you cannot be discriminated against based on your religion in the workplace. First and foremost, under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Ohio Unlawful Discriminatory Practice Statute, R.C. § 4112.02, religious discrimination is unlawful. Under these antidiscrimination laws, employers cannot harass employees based on their religion and must reasonably accommodate their employee’s religious beliefs and practices, unless making the requested accommodations would create a demonstrative unreasonable burden on the employer. In fact, we have covered numerous situations where one may be discriminated against his or her religion on this very blog. (See Can I Oppose My Employer’s Policy Based on My Religious Beliefs?; Is One Offensive Comment Enough To Prove Religious Discrimination?; Can My Employer Discriminate Against Me Because I Am A Vegan?; and What Can I Do If My Employer Will Not Give Me A Religious Accommodation?).
The undercurrent of discrimination against Muslims in this country made the timing of a very recent case from Wisconsin very interesting. As an aside, no lawsuit has been filed quite yet, but you can be sure that this very serious situation will end up in court. Just last month, 53 Muslim employees walked off their job at Ariens, a manufacturer of lawnmowers and snow blowers. The Muslim employees walked off the job because of a brand new policy that Ariens implemented without warning. Previously, the Muslim employees were permitted to take five unscheduled breaks per day to practice Salah, one of the Five Pillars of the faith of Islam. Salah, whose basic meaning is “bowing, homage, worship, prayer” is required to be performed five times per day.
The Muslim workers at Ariens were previously permitted to perform Salah when required. However, in January 2016, Ariens informed employees that the Muslim employees would no longer be allowed to take prayer breaks and breaks would be limited to two ten minute breaks per day. Ariens did provide a room where employees could pray. This, obviously, caused an uproar. The employees were forced to make a choice between following one of the main tenants of their religion or keeping their jobs. The employer even fired seven employees for taking breaks. The employees immediately walked off the job in protest of the new policy.
When this matter arrives in court, which it surely will, a primary issue will be the effect that the employees’ Salah has on Ariens. In order for Ariens to show that its new policy does not unlawfully discriminate against its Muslim employees, it must show that the Salah creates an unreasonable burden for the company. Ariens argues that the unscheduled breaks by the Muslim employees costs them approximately $1,000,000 of revenue per year. Ariens also argues that it is difficult for the non-Muslim employees to cover for the Muslim employees during Salah. However, during litigation, it will be important to learn what spurred this policy change because it is apparent that the Muslim employees were allowed to pray during work in the past. Is there any discriminatory intent? Did something change?
While the issue involving Ariens and its Muslim employees will certainly continue in court, it is imperative that you contact an experienced employment attorney if you are facing any kind of religious discrimination at work. If your employer is preventing you from practicing your religion during work hours, then you need an employment discrimination attorney on your side to make sure you are protected.
If you feel that you are being discriminated or harassed based on your religion or religious beliefs or that you were wrongfully terminated because of you are Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu or any other religion, the best course of action you can take is to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a religious discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
The materials available at the top of this religious discrimination blog and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “How do I …”, “What should I do …,” “Can my boss discriminate against me because I’m (Jewish/Muslim/Mormon/Hindu)?” or “I was fired for my religious beliefs. The answer to “What can I do?”, is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular religious discrimination or other employment law issue or problem. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.