California is a state known for its diversity and both state and federal employment laws prohibit discrimination based on various personal identifying factors including gender, race, national origin and religion. For employees who work in customer-facing roles and wear hijabs, crosses or follow certain grooming practices due to their religious beliefs, there is always fear that a customer may complain about what they are wearing or how they look.
In cases where a customer does complain about an employee’s religious dress or appearance and an employee is suddenly moved to a non-customer facing role, he or she may choose to speak with an employment law attorney about filing an employment discrimination lawsuit.
According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers with 15 or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious beliefs. Accommodations may include scheduling changes to allow an employee time to observe certain religious holidays or rituals as well as modifications to workplace dress policies. Employers who fail to provide religious accommodations or who engage in tactics such as involuntary job reassignments or segregation as a means to try to keep an employee out of the public eye, are violating the law and should be held accountable.
Opening a discussion
Employees who believe that they are the victims of workplace religious discrimination, should discuss their concerns with their supervisor or company’s human resources department. Unless a request to move back into a prior customer-facing role somehow decreases efficiency in the workplace, compromises safety, infringes on the rights of your coworkers or causes burdensome or potentially hazardous work, your employer should approve your request. If you are denied, you may have other options including legal recourse.