The Ten Commandments of Religious Discrimination


Originally published in the Orange County Business Journal, August 22-28, 2011

How can employers balance the competing interests of conducting their business when they need to take an employee's religion into account to make workplace decisions? We bring you the top Ten Commandments...

1. Thou shalt not assume a religion unknown to you is not a religion.

Simply because the name of a religion is not known to you or the religion claimed is not a traditional religion does not mean it is not protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Religion includes not only traditional, organized religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical, unacceptable or incomprehensible to others. For example, Wiccan is recognized by courts as a religious belief system. Being an atheist is even protected as a religious belief.

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