Can I be disciplined for reflecting/praying at my desk quietly?

Asked on November 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances. Unless you work for the govenment (e.g. school district, government agency, military) or a institution which is largely government funded (e.g. many universities), the First Amendment and it protection of religions expression does not apply to you. That said, an employer may not discriminate against someone on the basis of religion.  However, the employer has a fair amount of latitude to regulate actual behavior in the workplace. So while you cannot be disciplined because you are a person of faith, if you are, for example, praying while you should be working (i.e. taking time to pray is affecting your workplace performance or causing you be insubordinate in some fashion), the employer probably could take action. So the answer will likely turn on whether the action is being taken because you are religious, or it's occuring because you are doing something negatively affecting your own job or the workplace. Since the facts are so important, you should consult with an emloyment law attorney to evaluate the situation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.