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employment law

Religious Discrimination

Introduction to Religious Discrimination


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code prevent employers from discriminating against employees and job applicants on the basis of religious preference or affiliation.

What is religious discrimination?

Religious discrimination in the workplace includes direct discrimination, discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment, harassment, and failure to accommodate. 

Direct discrimination includes outright refusing to hire a job applicant because of his/her religion, or offering inferior terms and conditions of employment based on religion. This may include preventing an employee from having contact with customers because he or she wears religious garb.

Harassment may include disparaging an employee's religion (or choice to convert to a new religion), making inappropriate jokes based on religious discrimination or attempting to convert an employee to a different religion.

State and federal law also places an affirmative duty upon employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for the religious practices of their employees, such as:

  • Making exceptions to the company’s dress code and grooming requirements that prohibit religious dress and grooming
  • Allowing employees to trade shifts in order to have off on holy days
  • Allowing reasonable breaks for prayer and/or other religious requirements
  • Permitting Sabbath observance

These accommodations, however, have limits and cannot impose an undue hardship upon the employer. To the extent that a religious practice presents a legitimate safety hazard or prevents the employee from performing essential job functions, accommodation may not be required. 

Retaliation is Also Prohibited

Both Ohio and federal law include protections against retaliation. This means that if an employer takes an “adverse employment action” against (i.e., punishes) an employee because the employee complained about discrimination in the workplace (or engaged in another “protected activity”), the employee can file a lawsuit specifically for retaliation. It is common for lawsuits to include cases for both discrimination and retaliation. Read more about retaliation here.

Contact The Durst Law Firm if You Are Subjected to Religious Discrimination

We have extensive experience helping people who have been discriminated against, harassed, and fired. If you have a religious discrimination case, we will help you through every stage until justice is done. Call us today at at (513) 621-4999 to speak with an employment attorney, or call Alex's direct line at (513) 621-2500.