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San Diego Religious Discrimination Attorney

If you have experienced discrimination at work based on your religious beliefs or practices, Hamparyan Law Firm can help. Our experienced San Diego religious discrimination attorneys understand the complex laws that protect employees and can aggressively fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Religious discrimination takes many forms and violates both federal and California state laws. If your employer has failed to accommodate your religious needs, harassed you because of your faith, or denied you promotions due to religious bias, contact us today at (619) 550-1355 for a free consultation. We have the knowledge and resources to build a strong case on your behalf.

What is Religious Discrimination?

Religious discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee unfavorably because of their religious beliefs, practices, dress, grooming requirements, or need for schedule accommodations. This type of discrimination manifests when employers fail to reasonably accommodate religious needs, allow harassment targeting religion, or make employment decisions based on religious bias. Denying promotions, harassing employees, failing to accommodate religious holidays, prayer schedules, or religious attire, or basing hiring/firing choices on religion all qualify as unlawful discrimination under federal and California laws. If an employer does not accommodate religious requirements, allows a hostile environment targeting faith, or impacts terms of employment due to religious affiliation, they can face liability for religious discrimination.

Religious Discrimination Laws in California

There are several state and federal laws that protect employees from religious discrimination and require religious accommodations from employers.

Federal Laws

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – This landmark federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Religious Freedom Restoration Act – Prohibits the government from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion unless it furthers a compelling governmental interest.

California State Laws

  • Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – Outlaws religious discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Requires employers to reasonably accommodate religious beliefs and practices.
  • California Religious Freedom Act – Provides protections for religious liberty consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Under these laws, if an employer fails to accommodate religious needs, allows harassment targeting religion, or makes decisions based on religious bias, they can be held liable for religious discrimination.

Examples of Workplace Religious Discrimination

There are various ways that religious discrimination can manifest in the workplace. Some examples include:

Failing to Accommodate Religious Attire

Employers cannot require employees to remove religious garments or alter religious grooming practices, such as:

  • Requiring a Sikh employee to remove their turban
  • Prohibiting a Muslim woman from wearing a hijab
  • Banning male employees from growing beards

Denying Time Off for Religious Holidays

Employers are required to allow employees to use vacation days, PTO, or take unpaid leave to observe religious holidays such as:

  • Diwali
  • Yom Kippur
  • Eid al-Fitr
  • Good Friday

Harassment or Derogatory Comments

Offensive remarks about religious beliefs, practices, or clothing can create a hostile work environment. Examples include:

  • Mocking a Catholic employee’s Ash Wednesday observance
  • Making derogatory comments about a Jewish co-worker’s yarmulke
  • Asking invasive questions about Muslim prayer rituals

Unequal Promotion Opportunities

Employment decisions and opportunities for advancement cannot be denied based on religious affiliation or schedule needs for religious observances.

Constructive Discharge

When an employer knowingly permits severe harassment or refuses accommodations to the point an employee is forced to resign, it can amount to constructive discharge – a form of wrongful termination.These examples illustrate unlawful religious discrimination under federal and California laws. If you have experienced discrimination based on your religious beliefs or practices, contact our San Diego religious discrimination lawyers today.

Proving Religious Discrimination

Building a religious discrimination case requires thorough evidence gathering and documentation. Our attorneys know how to compile the necessary proof to show religious bias occurred in the workplace, including:

  • Written records – Emails, texts, memos, letters, social media posts, etc. showing religious harassment or discriminatory motives.
  • Oral statements – Testimony from witnesses who overheard discriminatory remarks or discussions.
  • Statistical data – Employment records indicating a pattern of discrimination in hiring, promotions, salaries, terminations, etc.
  • Comparator evidence – Examples of employees with different religious backgrounds receiving more favorable treatment.

Thorough documentation is key to proving a case of religious discrimination. Our lawyers will leave no stone unturned in gathering evidence to support your claim.

What Damages Can You Recover From A Religious Discrimination In The Workplace Rights Violation Case?

There are several types of monetary damages available in religious discrimination cases under federal and California law. If you have experienced discrimination based on your religious beliefs or practices, you may be entitled to compensation such as:

Lost wages 

Any loss of income resulting from discrimination, wrongful termination, or constructive discharge is recoverable. This includes back pay, front pay, and lost benefits.

Emotional distress 

Compensation for mental anguish, humiliation, and harm to your health or wellbeing due to religious harassment or discrimination.

Punitive damages 

Money awarded to punish the employer and deter future misconduct, available if discrimination was found to be malicious or reckless.

Attorney’s fees 

If you win your case, the employer will be ordered to pay your reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs.


Courts can also order employers to rehire wrongfully terminated employees with back pay and restore lost benefits.Injunctive relief – This requires employers to take corrective actions such as implementing new anti-discrimination policies, training programs, or removing negative reports from your personnel file.The value of a religious discrimination case depends on the specific facts and losses. However, our experienced attorneys will fight to help you recover all compensable damages under federal and California law. We have helped clients secure settlements and verdicts worth millions in these types of civil rights cases.

Hamparyan Law Firm Can Help

For over 20 years, Hamparyan Law Firm has fought aggressively to protect the rights of injured victims. Our employment discrimination attorneys have extensive experience representing employees in San Diego and understand these complex cases inside and out.We have successfully litigated religious discrimination lawsuits involving:

  • Failure to accommodate religious holidays, prayer schedules, or religious dress codes
  • Workplace harassment targeting religious beliefs or practices
  • Discrimination in hiring, promotions, salaries, or terminations based on religion

Our firm believes in fighting relentlessly for our clients. We offer skilled legal representation to employees who have experienced religious discrimination at work. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis – you pay nothing unless we obtain compensation or a settlement offer on your behalf.

Frequently Asked Questions on Religious Discrimination In The Workplace

Below are answers to some common questions we receive about religious discrimination:

What constitutes religious discrimination under the law?

Religious discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee unfavorably because of their religious beliefs, practices, dress, grooming requirements, or need for schedule accommodations. Denying promotions, harassing employees, failing to accommodate religious needs, or making employment decisions based on religion all qualify as unlawful discrimination.

What should I do if I am passed over for a promotion due to my religious beliefs?

First, document everything related to the promotion denial, including emails, memos, texts, or notes from meetings. Be sure to record the name(s) of any comparator employees with different religious backgrounds who did receive promotions. File an internal complaint with HR or management citing specific examples of how religion factored into the promotion decision. If that does not resolve the issue, an employment discrimination attorney can help you file a formal complaint with the EEOC or file a lawsuit seeking compensatory damages.

Can I be fired for wearing religious garments at work?

No, employers are required by law to reasonably accommodate religious dress or grooming practices at work. Outright banning religious clothing or garments violates anti-discrimination laws unless the employer can prove allowing them imposes an undue hardship on business operations. If you have been disciplined or terminated for wearing attire required by your sincerely held religious beliefs, contact our religious discrimination lawyers immediately.

Is my employer required to give me time off for religious holidays?

Yes, employers must accommodate religious holiday observances unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on operations. Title VII requires allowing employees to use vacation time, PTO, or unpaid leave to celebrate religious holidays. If your employer denies requests for time off work for religious observances, they may be liable for religious discrimination.

What monetary damages can I recover in a religious discrimination lawsuit?

Remedies available include: back pay, front pay, lost benefits, emotional distress damages, punitive damages to punish the employer, and attorney’s fees. Multimillion dollar verdicts are possible in egregious cases. An experienced lawyer can determine the full value of your religious discrimination claim.

How long do I have to file a claim for religious discrimination?

In California, you must file an administrative complaint with the DFEH within 3 years of the discriminatory act. To file a lawsuit, you typically have up to 4 years from the date the discrimination occurred under FEHA. However, prompt legal action is advised to avoid any statutes of limitations defenses.

What laws protect against religious discrimination?

Key laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and Religious Freedom Act. Our lawyers stay up to date on all federal and state laws prohibiting religious discrimination.

Can I still pursue a case if I signed an arbitration agreement with my employer?

It depends on the specific terms of the agreement. Some arbitration clauses have been found unenforceable by courts. An experienced attorney can evaluate your agreement to determine if arbitration can be challenged or avoided. If not, we can still zealously represent your interests in arbitration proceedings.

Is religious discrimination hard to prove?

These cases can be complex, but our skilled attorneys know how to thoroughly document discriminatory practices through statistical data, written communications, comparator evidence, and witness testimony. Even without direct evidence, compelling circumstantial evidence can prove religious bias impacted the terms and conditions of employment.

Will filing a complaint get me fired?

Retaliation for asserting your rights is strictly prohibited under Title VII and California law. If an employer takes adverse action against you for reporting religious discrimination, that is an additional violation and grounds for a lawsuit. We can seek court orders to have you reinstated if you are wrongfully terminated.

Need A Religious Discrimination Lawyer in San Diego? Schedule Your Free Consultation with Hamparyan Law Firm Today

If you have suffered discrimination, contact Hamparyan Law Firm today at (619) 550-1355 for dedicated legal representation. Our experienced attorneys provide aggressive and compassionate counsel to employees facing religious discrimination in San Diego and throughout California. We offer free consultations and handle cases on a contingency fee basis – you pay nothing upfront. Let us fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.


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