New Hampshire, Vermont, and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. Religious beliefs include those required by a religion, atheism, agnosticism, and other beliefs that are strongly and genuinely held by individuals. This means that an employer cannot discriminate against you in any aspect of your employment, including hiring, firing, rate of pay, job assignments, when and whether you are promoted, and all other conditions of your employment.
It is also illegal for your coworkers to make offensive remarks or tease you about your religious beliefs or practices, and if this occurs and your employer does nothing about it, your employer has liability for failing to take prompt action.
Your employer is also required to make reasonable accommodations for your religious practices. Examples of reasonable accommodations might include changing work hours or break times, providing time off, assigning different job duties, and allowing religious dress or grooming practices.
The following are some examples of religious discrimination:
- Your employer makes you abandon or adopt a religious practice as a condition of your employment.
- You are not promoted or you are fired because of your religious beliefs.
- You cannot follow your religious practices while on the job, such as wearing religious clothing, taking breaks to pray, or avoiding tasks your religion prohibits, even though doing so would not adversely affect the business.
- You cannot take time off to observe your day of worship or your religious holidays, even though doing so would not hurt your employer’s business.
Attorney David Cole served for approximately eight years as a Commissioner on New Hampshire’s Commission for Human Rights, the state agency that enforces New Hampshire’s discrimination laws in the workplace, and has aggressively advocated throughout New Hampshire and Vermont for victims of illegal discrimination and harassment in the workplace, in housing, and in their private lives for 30 years.
If you or someone you know needs legal assistance because they are the victim of religious discrimination, call our office at 800-909-LAWS (5297) or submit an online questionnaire through this website. All cases are subject to a statute of limitations that limit the dates by which a lawsuit may be brought, and discrimination cases have very short statutes of limitation, some as short as six months, so call without delay to ensure you do not waive your right to bring a lawsuit to enforce your rights.