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Encountering Religion in the WorkplaceThe Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Workers and Employers$
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Raymond F. Gregory

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449543

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449543.001.0001

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What Is Religion as Defined by Law?

What Is Religion as Defined by Law?

(p.15) 2 What Is Religion as Defined by Law?
Encountering Religion in the Workplace

Raymond F. Gregory

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines religion as defined by law. In a surprising number of cases, courts have had to decide whether particular practices are in fact religious, thus requiring the law's protection. Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the individual's race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. This chapter first considers the bare essentials of Title VII before looking at a number of court cases, including the one involving Christopher Lee Peterson. It then explains how the courts have addressed the issue of whether someone's religious beliefs constitute a religion, as well as the distinction between religious and nonreligious beliefs. The chapter shows that the courts have granted religious beliefs the protection of the law, except when workers are shown to have failed to act consistently in accordance with their beliefs.

Keywords:   religion, Title VII, court cases, Christopher Lee Peterson, religious beliefs, nonreligious beliefs

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