Can an employer fire you for your religious beliefs?

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Can an employer fire you for your religious beliefs?

Asked on November 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Normally, no--the law precludes or prevents employers from discriminating against employees (such as by firing them) on the basis of  the employee's religion.

There are exceptions, however, if  the religion prevents the employee from actually doing the job. For example: a restaurant or catering hall could likely fire a Jewish waiter who refused to work on Friday night or Saturday, if that's among their busiest times, when then most need their wait staff; a gynecological practice which performs abortions could fire a Catholic nurse or technician who refused to take part in them; a supermarket could fire a devout Muslim from its butcher shop if the Muslim refused to handle pork products; etc.

However, if the employee's religion does not directly impact core job functions, then the employer should not fire them; if the employer does, the employer may have a legal claim for illegal discrimination.


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