Is it legal for my employer to offer benefits only to Christian employees?

During my job interview I was told that he offered health benefits after 90 days. Once I was eligible, I had to approach him for about 2 months until finally he told me that he switched to a Christian ministries sharing plan and since I do not attend church and I smoke and drink, that I’m not eligible for it. Is that legal?

Asked on May 2, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is not even remotely legal. The law plainly states that employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of their religion--yet that is exactly what this employer is doing, in denying you benefits because you do not meet his religious criteria. You should contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a complaint--you are likely entitled to both have the benefits and to get compensation for being wrongly denied it. Here is a link to a helpful EEOC webpage; good luck.
https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm


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