Is it legal if I applied for a job which I am more than qualified but the company sent me a letter stating that they would not hire me because I am not a member of their church?

Asked on January 10, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

That *may* not be legal: employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee or prospective  employee--such as by refusing to hire him or  her--due to his or her religion. There are limited circumstances where an employee's religion or church-affiliation can be taken into account, such as--

* If the employer does business with that church, and has a policy against hiring anyone from any of its customers or business partners;

* If the employee's religion would directly prevent him/her from doing the job (e.g. an observant Jew could not be hired to work at a restaurant or catering hall if it's required to work Friday night and Saturday--that's when most of the business is done)

--but apart from cases like the above, an employer should not be considering a  prospective employee's religion when making a hiring decision. You may have a claim for illegal religous-based discrimination; you should discuss the matter with an employment law attorney or speak with your state's equal/civil rights agency.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Based upon what you have written, you were illegally discriminated in the work place based upon your religious affiliation under the laws of all states in this country.

I suggest that you consult with a labor law attorney and/or see a representative with your local Fair Employment and Housing as to what your legal recourse is.

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