skip to content
Subscribe to RSS | TIPS
Dedicated to giving you the attention and responsiveness that you and your case deserve.

Religious Harassment and Discrimination is Prohibited says Chicago Employment Lawyer

It should go without saying that religious discrimination and harassment is prohibited. Sadly, this still happens today.

“Religious discrimination may come in many forms, and to the employee, it may not seem like discrimination at first, until they begin to see a pattern. For instance, religious discrimination may come when you are denied the right to take holidays. You may be told something like: ‘Just for this year, we need you to fill in for someone,’ and you comply. However, you notice that over the year, when your religion has holidays, there is always a reason why you are not granted those days off,” said Timothy Coffey, a Chicago employment lawyer and principal attorney for The Coffey Law Office, P. C., an employment litigation firm dedicated to representing employees in the workplace.

This form of discrimination can be subtle. It may involve the employer denying a worker the right to keep weekly religious holidays by not scheduling around those days when it is reasonable to do that. For instance, if the employee is a shift worker, and his or her religious holiday is a Saturday, and the company continually schedules the person to work that day despite others being available to take that shift, it may be discrimination.

“Denying an employee a promotion because of their religion or religious affiliation is discrimination, as is not hiring the most qualified individual because of their religion,” Coffey said. “It goes further than the employer. It involves the workplace itself, and if there is harassment or the creation of a hostile workplace due to co-worker’s, this too is discrimination.”

Unfortunately, since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, there has been a significant increase in discrimination against people of Middle Eastern lineage. This has snowballed into discrimination in many forms against those who are confirmed Muslims, and those who are perceived as Muslims.

“While it is not fair and is illegal, it is still happening. What people fail to take into consideration is that you can’t brand a whole race for the acts of a few. For Muslims or Middle Eastern individuals who are enduring hostile workplaces, it may help you to call an experienced Chicago employment lawyer and find out your rights,” Coffey said. “My office is capable of handling any type of religious discrimination and will represent clients from all religious backgrounds, provided they have a case.”

“Just one word of advice for those who may be experiencing religious harassment and discrimination at work – report it to a supervisor. Keep records, read your company handbook and know where you stand. Having a verbal and/or paper trail in cases like this is important. Do not wait to report it. Act immediately to get assistance with the harassment. If this does not work, then please, call my office and we can discuss your circumstances,” Coffey said.

Timothy J. Coffey is a Chicago employment lawyer with, and owner of, The Coffey Law Office, P.C., a Chicago employment litigation firm. To learn more, visit