CALL 843-577-5000

The Right Not to Be Religious in the Workplace

The rights of religious people are protected in the workplace by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, in recent years, there have been several cases about the rights of atheists and agnostics (atheists do not believe in a god, while agnostics doubt God’s existence). If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to your lack of religious belief, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered.

“Ethical or Moral Beliefs”

The U.S. has always had a high percentage of faithful people, to the point where atheism has only recently begun to escape stigma. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender/sex, and ethnicity/national origin. However, the evolution of nondiscrimination laws with regard to religious practice has changed to cover the rights of U.S. workers who do not practice any faith. Title VII has been defined as protecting anyone with “sincere religious, ethical, or moral beliefs”. Atheism is considered a sincere ethical or moral belief in most situations.

Filing Suit

If you have been targeted because of your atheist or agnostic beliefs, or because of your relationship with someone who is atheist or agnostic, you can file suit in the same manner as a person whose religious faith is the factor for alleged discrimination. Depending on the law you want to file suit under, you would file a charge with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. The agency will investigate and then illustrate what options you may have.

It is important to keep in mind that while most strong ‘ethical or moral’ beliefs have been deemed protected under Title VII, especially in recent years, the Supreme Court has explicitly held that a belief is not immediately protected just because it is strongly held. If a person believes that they have been discriminated against because of their lack of religious beliefs, they must show both the alleged discrimination and the fact that they are just as committed to their beliefs as any person who subscribes to standard religion.

Get Legal Help Today

Religion, or the choice not to have one, should be a personal matter. It should not govern a person’s opportunities if they are otherwise fit for a job. If you believe that you have been discriminated against, attorney A. Christopher Potts has been handling these types of cases for years, and our firm of Hitchcock & Potts is ready and willing to help with yours.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Leave a Comment