Discrimination occurs when a person or group receives unfair, unjust, or unsavory treatment that sets them apart from others. When people receive this type of treatment because of their faith, or lack of faith, this is known as religious discrimination. There are often measures enacted at various levels of society to prevent people from initiating or experiencing this type of treatment.
A Christian is allowed to dislike Muslims. Likewise a Muslim is allowed to dislike Christians. A member of one religion who uses such differences as a basis for decisions that will affect those of differing religions, however, is discriminating. For example, John may not like to associate with Muslims in leisure circumstances, and that is his right. John, as a recruiter for XYZ Inc., does not, however, have the right to deny a Muslim employment based on his religious beliefs.
There are many settings in which a person may experience religious discrimination. Much focus is often placed on preventing or eliminating this type of behavior in the workplace. Example of the types of religious discrimination that occur in work environments include refusing to promote someone because of her religion, refusing to allow her access to company benefits, or firing her on the basis of her religion.
People may also experience religious discrimination when looking for housing. If a seller refuses to sell based on religion or a landlord refuses to rent for this reason, these individuals are discriminating. In the United States (US), the Civil Rights Act aims to protect people from this type of discrimination.
In addition to the federal prohibition of this type of behavior, many states have drafted laws outlining this type of discrimination and the remedies that may be sought if it occurs. Many businesses also have explicit policies stating a lack of tolerance for those who discriminate against others because of differing religious beliefs.
It is important to note that religious discrimination does not only result between people with different religions. A person can also experience this type of mistreatment because she does not have a religion. Atheists, for example, are generally protected by laws and regulations that prohibit religious discrimination.
In most democratic societies, a person can take legal action if she is subjected to religious discrimination. There are numerous types of remedies that can result from a successful case. The person who discriminated against her may lose his position or professional license. The victim may be monetarily compensated. If she experienced losses, such as being fired or having her property unfairly repossessed, these things may be given back to her.