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GoWorkPlan™ believes your right to share your faith in the workplace is protected under Title VII. Therefore, as a business owner you are allowed to share what you believe with your mission statement, goals and objectives, materials and programs in your workplace. And as an employee you have the right to attend a religious activity, the right to give to the charity of your choice; and the right to re-direct your Union Dues to give to causes that line up with what you believe.

GoWorkPlan™ has partnered with one of the top lawyers in the country to provide legal advice for people who want to be a light in their workplace.

Here are some other things to consider:

Employer’s Hardship

Most often, a religious holiday or practice conflicts with a work schedule. When an employee requests an absence for a religious holiday, the employer must make a good faith effort to arrange the employees work schedule. In the Federal Religious Discrimination Guidelines, the EEOC included a list of alternatives that employers should consider as reasonable accommodation for religious employees.

Reasonable Accommodation

An employee’s request for accommodation must be based on a legitimate religious observance, not on an optional activity; and the employer or labor organization must offer the accommodation which; least disadvantages the individual with respect to his or her employment opportunities.

Requirements to Establish a Case

An employee needs to communicate to their employer their sincerely held religious believe and also the negative impact of that belief.  There are three basic requirements to establishing a religious discrimination case under Title VII. An employee must prove that:

1) They had a bona fide religious belief and that the practice of their belief conflicted with an employment duty;

2) They informed their employer of the belief and conflict; and

3) The employer threatened him or subjected him to discriminatory treatment because of his inability to fulfill the job requirements because of this religious belief.


There are two types of exemptions under Title VII. The first exemption is for religious institutions. Churches, schools, colleges, universities or other educational institutes that are operated, owned supported and controlled by a religious corporation, or if their curriculum is intended for distribution of a particular religion, may hire and employee individuals of that particular religion. However, this exemption does not apply to for-profit corporations, even if the business is religiously-oriented or operates the business according to religious guidelines, such as Bible bookstores or Hindu daycare centers. The second exemption allows employers to discriminate where sex, race, or religion is a “bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise (BFOQ).” Courts have narrowly interpreted this statute.

Title VII

Title VII is the federal statute most often applied to religious issues in the workplace. Title VII applies to most employees, whether public or private and is used as the basis for rulings on discrimination claims.

An Employment practice is considered to be unlawful under the following conditions:

1) If an employer fails or refuses to hire or discharges any individual, or otherwise discriminates against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

2) If the employer limits, segregates, or classifies his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his employment status, because of such individual’s race, color, sex, or national origin.

So, in other words, religion is covered under the provisions listed above. An employer cannot refuse to hire and cannot fire an individual or tamper with his compensation or benefits because of the individual’s chosen religion.

Religion is defined by Title VII to include all aspects of religious observance, as well as belief. Both employees and employees are covered under Title VII.

Different states have different guidelines for employers. Title VII defines “employer” as a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks. However, the state of California is more restrictive than Title VII. So employers should check to see if the law in their state differs from Title VII.

In some cases, it is not clear whether a worker is an “employee” covered by Title VII, as opposed to an independent contractor, who is not. In such cases, Title VII should be interpreted broadly to include workers not specifically excluded by the statute (such as elected officials).

©2013-14 Pacific Justice Institute – P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600 – (916) 857-6900 – See more at: / re-syndicated with permission from the Pacific Justice Institute

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