California Government Code Section 12940 and federal law both prohibit harassment and discrimination in the terms or conditions of employment on the basis of religion, and prohibit harassment based upon religious affiliation. Furthermore, the law requires employers to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent harassment from occurring in the workplace.

The law protects people of all faiths: Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and all other religious belief systems. The protection is intended to protected against discriminatory treatment based on religious creed.


The California Supreme Court has defined harassment as conduct that is outside the scope of necessary job performance, conduct presumably engaged in for personal gratification, because of meanness or bigotry, or for other person motives. Harassment can be categorized into verbal harassment, physical harassment, or visual harassment. Verbal harassment consists of but is not limited to derogatory comments, slurs, comments and jokes. Physical harassment is defined as unwanted touching, assault and physical interference with one’s movement or work. Visual harassment includes derogatory cartoons, drawings, or posters, and lewd gestures. Additionally, workplace harassment can involve violence or threats of violence.

Harassment based on religion often consists of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct directed at an employee because of his or her religious affiliation and/or perceived religious affiliation.

As an example, a religious employee should not be harassed for wearing a head covering. Many religious discrimination cases are based on the failure of an employer to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices. However some cases involve more direct discrimination, such as firing an employee for their religious beliefs.

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 California courts have set the following standards to determine whether a belief is a protected religious belief: (a) it must address fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and imponderable matters; (b) it must be comprehensive and not consist of an isolated teaching; and (c) it must have formal, external, or surface signs that can be analogized to traditional religions, such as services, ceremonies, clergy, etc.


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.