man at work

Religion is a personal and important aspect of many people’s lives. It can also affect their work schedules, especially when it comes to observing religious holidays. That said, if you were recently denied permission to take off to observe a religious holiday, you may wonder whether you have a valid discrimination claim against your employer. Please continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer from RD Law Group to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:

Can my employer tell me I can’t take off from work to observe a religious holiday?

In California, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their religion. This means that employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise treat employees differently because of their religion. It also means that employers must provide their employees with certain reasonable accommodations (as long as the accommodation in question doesn’t cause the employer undue hardship). Some examples of reasonable accommodations are as follows:

  • Allowing flexible work hours or shifts
  • Permitting employees to swap or trade shifts with co-workers
  • Modifying dress codes or grooming standards
  • Providing private space for prayer or meditation
  • Providing unpaid leave or allowing employees to use paid leave for religious observances

What is an undue hardship?

An undue hardship is any accommodation that would cause significant difficulty or expense to the employer, considering factors such as the size, nature, and resources of the business. For example, an undue hardship may include:

  • Disrupting the operations or productivity of the business
  • Violating a seniority system or collective bargaining agreement
  • Creating safety or health risks
  • Imposing excessive costs or burdens on the employer
  • Infringing on the rights or preferences of other employees

Whether an employer can deny an employee’s request to take time off for a religious holiday depends on whether the request is a reasonable accommodation and whether granting it would cause undue hardship to the employer. The employer and the employee should engage in a good-faith dialogue to explore possible solutions that would satisfy both parties.

If an employer denies an employee’s request without a valid reason or fails to engage in a good-faith dialogue, the employee may have a claim for religious discrimination.

If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your religion, you should consult with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer from RD Law Group as soon as possible. Our firm can help you understand your rights and options, gather evidence, file a complaint with the appropriate agency, and pursue legal action on your behalf.