State Laws and Regulations

Topic Progress:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination in employment on the basis several protected categories, including religion. However, most states also have their own legal frameworks for dealing with employment discrimination, and although most of them mimic the structure of Title VII, some have significant differences. Most importantly, many states extend protection to employees working for small organizations of fewer than 15 employees, and some raise the bar on what “undue burden” means, requiring that an employer show that it would suffer a more substantial hardship to avoid accommodating than would be allowed until Title VII.

Below, you’ll find basic information on your state’s law. This information comes directly from each state’s legal code.

Alabama
Alabama does not offer legal protections for religious discrimination in employment. The only type of workplace discrimination explicitly prohibited is age discrimination.

Alaska
Alaska does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion.

Arizona
Arizona does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business.

Arkansas
Arkansas does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion.

California
California does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business.

Colorado
Colorado does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. In addition, the language of the statute indicates that a supervisor may be held personally liable for discrimination claims.

Connecticut
Connecticut does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion.

Delaware
Delaware does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Delaware law applies to organizations with 4 or more employees.

District of Columbia
D.C. does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. In addition, it differs in 2 significant ways from Title VII: First, employees can bring a case claiming that the employe acted only partially for discriminatory reasons (as opposed acting in a wholly discriminatory manner). Second, employees can bring individual claims against supervisors for “aiding and abetting discrimination.”

Florida
Florida does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion, and employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs. “Reasonableness” is judged by balancing the individual’s right to oppose employment discrimination and the public’s interest in enforcing equal opportunity laws with the employer’s need for a “stable and productive” work environment.

Georgia
Georgia does not offer legal protections for religious discrimination in private employment; however, federal claims may be filed with the local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office.

Hawaii
Hawaii does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion, and this law applies to all employers regardless of size. A refusal to accommodate is justified only when an employer or other covered entity can demonstrate that an undue hardship would result from “each available alternative method of accommodation.”
Important to note is that many attorneys choose to file discrimination cases in the state courts because Hawaii does not put a limit on the damages that can be awarded.

Idaho
Idaho does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden, defined as “unreasonable cost or excessive adjustment,” on the employer’s business. Idaho law applies to organizations with 5 or more employees.
Important to note is that attorneys often choose to file cases based on Title VII rather than the Idaho state law because the state statute can limit payout for damages and attorneys’ fees.
The same law prohibiting discrimination in employment also prohibits discrimination in education.

Illinois
Illinois does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business.

Indiana
Indiana does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Indiana law applies to any organization with 6 or more employees.

Iowa
Iowa does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. Iowa law applies to organizations with 4 or more employees.

Kansas
Kansas does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Kansas law applies to organizations with 4 or more employees.

Kentucky
Kentucky does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business; an undue burden is defined a de minimis cost in the form of lost efficiency or lost wages. Kentucky law applies to organizations with 8 or more employees.

Louisiana
Louisiana does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. Louisiana law applies to organizations with more than 20 employees.

Maine
Maine does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Maine law applies to any organization, regardless of number of employees.

Maryland
Maryland does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. Maryland law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.

Massachusetts
Massachusetts does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. The law explicitly defines undue hardship as including instances where an employee’s absence:

  • Renders the employer unable to provide services required by state or federal law,
  • Compromises the health and safety of the public,
  • Renders the orderly transaction of business impossible, or
  • Where the employee’s presence is needed to alleviate an emergency situation.

Massachusetts law applies to any organization with more than 6 employees, as well as to state and local government.

Michigan
Michigan does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion, but does not create an affirmative duty to accommodate. Michigan law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

Minnesota
Minnesota does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion, but does not create an affirmative duty to accommodate. Minnesota law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

Mississippi
Mississippi does not offer legal protections for religious discrimination in employment, nor does it have an agency responsible for dealing with claims of discrimination. The only type of workplace discrimination explicitly prohibited is discrimination against public-sector employees; all other claims of discrimination must go directly to the federal EEOC.

Missouri
Missouri does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. Missouri law applies to organization swith more than 6 employees.

Montana
Montana does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Montana law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

Nebraska
Nebraska does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Nebraska law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.

Nevada
Nevada does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Nevada law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.

New Hampshire
New Hampshire does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion, explicitly stating that it incorporates the federal Title VII requirements into its state standards. New Hampshire law applies to organizations with more than 6 employees.

New Jersey
New Jersey does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business; an “undue burden” is defined as “an accommodation requiring unreasonable expense or difficulty, unreasonable interference with the safe or efficient operation of the workplace or a violation of a bona fide seniority system or a violation of a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.” New Jersey law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

New Mexico
New Mexico does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. New Mexico law applies to organizations with more than 4 employees.

New York
New York does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business; an undue hardship is defined as one that imposes “significant expense of difficulty.” New York law applies to organizations with 4 or more employees.

North Carolina
North Carolina does not have a particular law outlawing religious discrimination in employment. However, it does have an act declaring that the state’s public policy is protect the rights of all persons to seek or hold employment without discrimination based on religion.
To file a lawsuit using state law, a person must file a common-law claim alleging a violation of the public policy. People are also free to file a claim with the federal EEOC.

North Dakota
North Dakota does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. When determining whether a proposed accommodation would create an undue burden, North Dakota courts will look at:

  • The size of the employer’s business
  • The type of business
  • The employer’s financial resources, and
  • The estimated cost and extent of the accommodation.
  • North Dakota law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

Ohio
Ohio does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Ohio law applies to organizations with more than 4 employees.

Oklahoma
Oklahoma does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Oklahoma law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.
Important to note is that Oklahoma does not allow residents to bring discrimination suits directly except in the case of disability discrimination. All complaints of discrimination must be filed with the state’s Civil Rights Commission.

Oregon
Oregon does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Oregon law applies to organizations with more than 4 employees.

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Pennsylvania law applies to organizations with more than 4 employees.
Pennsylvania law also specifically bars state agencies from discrimination against applicants or employees because of their need to observe the sabbath or other holy day.

Rhode Island
Rhode Island does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Rhode Island law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.

South Carolina
South Carolina does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business; an undue burden is defined as one “requiring significant difficulty or expense.” South Carolina law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.

South Dakota
South Dakota does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. South Dakota law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

Tennessee
Tennessee does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business; an undue burden is defined as one that would cause the employer to incur “significant difficulty or expense.” Tennessee law applies to organizations with more than 8 employees.

Texas
Texas does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. Texas law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.

Utah
Utah does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Utah law applies to organizations with more than 15 employees.

Vermont
Vermont does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Vermont law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

Virginia
Virginia does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Virginia law applies to organizations with more than 6 employees.

Washington
Washington does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Washington law applies to organizations with more than 12 employees.

West Virginia
West Virginia does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. West Virginia law applies to organizations with more than 12 employees

Wisconsin
Wisconsin does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. Wisconsin law applies to organizations with more than 1 employee.

Wyoming
Wyoming does prohibit employment discrimination based on religion. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate religious needs as long as accommodation does not impose an undue burden on the employer’s business. Wyoming law applies to organizations with more than 2 employees.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *