Employers are prohibited under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), from discriminating against an employee or potential employee in the “terms or conditions of employment” on the basis of an individual’s religious beliefs or practices. “Terms or conditions of employment” means all the aspects of an employee’s job, including: initial interview, hiring, the employee’s position and title in the company, compensation, hours of work and overtime, vacation and other types of leave, benefits, and forms of discipline.

The law protects people of all religious creeds: Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, as well as other religious belief systems.

California law defines a “religious creed” as any traditionally recognized religion, as well as any sincere beliefs, observances, or practices that are of similar importance in a person’s life. The courts have set the following standards to determine whether a belief is a protected religious belief: (1) it must address fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and imponderable matters; (2) it must be comprehensive and not consist of an isolated teaching; and (3) it must have formal, external, or surface signs that can be analogized to traditional religions, such as services, ceremonies, clergy, etc.


Discrimination can occur in many different ways; however, most often seen examples include: (1) refusal to hire or employ the person; (2) refusal to select the person for a training program leading to employment; (3) termination the person from employment or from a training program leading to employment; and (4) discriminates against the person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment such as wages, work assignments, benefits, etc.

Furthermore, a religious employee should not be harassed for wearing a head covering, or following a religious practice. In fact, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices. However, a lot of cases involve a more direct form of discrimination: termination from employment based on animus toward an employee’s religious beliefs.


Tumber Law Firm is based in San Francisco, California. Our attorneys represent clients in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Monterey, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Solano, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. Tumber Law Firm protects clients from harassment based on religion, age, race, sex, religion, color, sexual orientation, marital status, association, physical or mental disability, or other legally protected classifications; retaliation, discrimination, and denial of accommodation. Additionally we represent employees if they have not been paid the proper wages including overtime or minimum wage, or those not given the proper meal and rest breaks. If you believe that your rights have been violated, CONTACT US to setup your free consultation to discuss this matter. We take cases on a contingency basis and collect no attorney fees unless we win your case.