Under state and federal law, it is illegal for an employer to take the following actions against an employee when the action is “motivated in part by” the employee’s religion:
- refuse to hire or to maintain a system of employment which unreasonably excludes a person seeking employment; or
- discharge an employee; or
- discriminate against a person with respect to hiring, tenure, compensation, terms, upgrading, conditions, facilities, or privileges of employment.
Ironically (and thanks to a constitutional balancing act that “respects” the First Amendment), state and federal law both carve out various exceptions for religious institutions themselves under certain circumstances. For example, under Minnesota law, churches not organized for profit are not subject to the anti-discrimination provisions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act in the area of employment when it comes to “sexual orientation” discrimination. See Minn. Stat. § 363A.26. That exception from the anti-discrimination protections does not apply, however, to the secular business operations of a church (like running a thrift shop or cafe).
We represent employees who have been discriminated against on the basis of their religion no matter the religion or denomination. In Minnesota, that means we take up the cause of Muslim newcomers to our community who face discrimination at work, as well as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and anyone else who faces discrimination or harassment because of his or her faith.