So, you feel you've been discriminated against at work due to your religion and now, you want to sue?
It's not always that easy to sue for religious discrimination. You need to know the law about workplace discimination and you need to make sure you follow all the right steps to sue for employment discrimination.
The Law On Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
For starters, you need to know what you can sue for. There are several protected classes. Religion is a protected class which means that if you've experienced religious discrimination at work you are protected under the law.
That's the easy part. The hard part is proving it.
You need to have some good, solid evidence of religious discrimination. This has to be evidence that showed some sort of religious bias towards you, which subsequently affected a career decision. Maybe you were demoted. Or maybe you were denied a promotion. Or maybe, you were even fired. Any evidence in writing is always the best. Don't count on witness testimony, as your colleagues can't always be called upon to testify-- they might end up staying loyal to the employer.
Let's say you have a solid case-- you have evidence that your employer or manager treated you differently because of your religous beliefs. You faced an adverse employment action as the result of this discrimination and now, you want to take it to court.
Pretext in Employment Discrimination Cases
Here's the next hurdle: Pretext.
What is "pretext" in an employment discrimination case?
Once you've made your case, the employer now has to prove that the demotion or adverse action was justified.
Did the employer have a hidden agenda when firing or demoting you?
Usually, an employer will justify the adverse treament through your work product. The employer will say that your work was poor and that's why you were fired or demoted.
If you can show, through evidence, that you were actually a great employee and that the firing or demotion was not merited, you could win your case.
The EEOC Is Your Best Bet Before Going to Court
If you think you have a case, start by going to the EEOC. They can look into your case and conduct a proper investigation into the facts and circumstances. They will then provide a report as to their findings and let you know if they feel that you have a case. Sometimes, they even try to resolve your case for you.
Other times, they might suggest that you go to court to duke it out with your employer.
But keep in mind, employment cases are tough to win and tough to fight. If you want to fight a religious discrimination case, be ready for the stress and headache that comes with it.