Michigan Religious Discrimination Lawyers

The United States is a diverse nation, comprised of people from all races, cultures, origins, lifestyles, and religions. Yet, religious discrimination still occurs with shocking frequency in the workplace.

Under Michigan state and federal law, it is illegal to discriminate against employees and job candidates based on their religion. These protections apply to all religions, including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and others.

If you have been treated unfairly at work or during the hiring process due to your religion, you should seek immediate legal counsel. The highly experienced workplace discrimination team at Sommers Schwartz, P.C., will review your case and determine the best legal strategy for moving forward. Contact our knowledgeable Michigan employment discrimination lawyers today.

What Is Religious Employment Discrimination?

Under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, Americans have the right to practice any religion. As long as an employee’s or job applicant’s religion does not harm the rights of others, employers should make the following religious accommodations when appropriate:

  • Creating flexible schedules to allow for religious holidays and practice.
  • Modifying workplace policies that interfere with an individual’s religious attire, practice, customs, or beliefs.
  • For example, a Muslim employee who does not want to be around alcohol should be excused from the Friday afternoon happy hour and not treated unfairly for their absence.
  • Religious employment discrimination can take many forms, including:
  • Segregation from other employees.
  • Failure to provide accommodations for religious attire, practice, or customs.
  • Harassment.
  • Discrimination based on the religion of an employee’s spouse or other associates.

Michigan and Federal Religious Employment Discrimination Laws

Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits multiple types of employment discrimination. Under the Act, it is illegal for an employer to engage in any of the following actions based on an employee’s or job applicant’s religious beliefs:

  • Refusal to hire.
  • Failure to provide reasonable accommodations.
  • Assignment of unfavorable shifts or job duties.
  • Deprivation of employment opportunities.
  • Wrongful termination.

Legal Options for Victims of Religious Employment Discrimination in Michigan

If you have suffered religious employment discrimination, you can file a complaint at both state and federal levels. In Michigan, the state employment discrimination complaint agency is the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). To successfully file a complaint with the MDCR, you must:

  • Provide a detailed account of the discrimination, including the date(s) and time(s) of any incidents.
  • File your complaint within 180 days of the incident.

Following receipt of the complaint, MDCR will conduct an impartial investigation. This may result in the complaint being dismissed, mediation between the complainant and respondent, or the filing of a lawsuit.

How To File a Religious Workplace Discrimination Charge at the Federal Level

To exercise your federal rights against workplace discrimination, you must first file a formal complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). At any time during the EEOC’s investigation of your claim, you may request a Notice of Right to Sue.

Once you have received a Notice of Right to Sue, you can file a lawsuit in a Michigan federal or state court. An experienced Michigan employment discrimination attorney can protect your rights and best interests during this complex process.

Legal Claims for Workers Who Have Faced Religious Discrimination

If you have been discriminated against at work or during the hiring process based on your religion, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for any damages suffered. Common damages in religious workplace discrimination cases include:

  • Lost wages.
  • Relocation fees.
  • Emotional pain and suffering.
  • Punitive damages.

Contact Our Religious Discrimination Attorneys at Sommers Schwartz, P.C., Today

In 2022, no person should be subjected to employment discrimination based on their religious beliefs. But religious discrimination still occurs every day in the U.S. Fortunately, you have rights. If you have been a victim of religious discrimination in the workplace, the skilled legal team at Sommers Schwartz, P.C., can help. Contact our Michigan lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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