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Religious discrimination takes many forms in the workplace

Religion is an important part of the lives of many people in West Virginia, so business owners need to make sure that their employees aren't discriminated in the workplace due to their beliefs. The law defines several types of behaviors that could expose employers to liability if someone files religious discrimination claim.

Treating someone unfairly due to his or her religious beliefs or practices could get an employer in trouble. Denying a promotion or refusing to hire someone because of his or her religion represents disparate treatment. Caving into customer demands to not hire staff from a certain faith is another illegal practice. An employer that forbids religiously affiliated clothing like a head scarf under the guise of safety might also be breaking the law. A compromise that allows the worker to cover his or her head without risking an accident would be a better approach.

Legal experts also warn employers to not ignore harassment inflicted by employees. A court could consider silence to be approval of the behavior. When a worker requests an accommodation for religious reasons, employers must avoid punishing the person. Associational bias presents another illegal act if an employer discriminates against someone because of the religious beliefs of that person's spouse or relatives.

In addition to negative attitudes toward some religious groups, employment discrimination takes other forms. A person harassed at work because of age, disability, sex, race or national origin might also have a right to make a legal claim for damages. An attorney could review the situation to determine if a company policy or the behavior of co-workers has broken the law. After documenting the evidence, a lawyer could file court papers to sue the employer for damages, which could include lost wages and compensation for long-term career damage.

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