The Alaska Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of religion (AK Stat. Sec. 18.80.010 et seq.). The Law applies to all employers in the state, regardless of size. The Law does not apply to not-for-profit social clubs and fraternal, charitable, educational, or religious associations or corporations. Under the Law, it is unlawful for employers to:
• Refuse employment, terminate employment, or discriminate against a person in compensation or in the terms or conditions of employment because of religion.
• Discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against a person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under the state law or because the person has filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in a proceeding under the law.
• Print a statement, inquiry, or advertisement for employment that expresses directly a limitation, specification, or discrimination as to religion, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
• Aid, abet, or coerce the doing of an unlawful discriminatory act or to attempt to do so.
It may be permissible to hire an individual on the basis of religion because of a BFOQ reasonably necessary for the job in question. These situations are rare, however, and employers should exercise extreme caution in making employment decisions that have a disproportionate impact on a particular group.
Although claims of religious discrimination are usually brought on the basis of a person's membership in a particular religious group, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that federal law, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also prohibits discrimination based on nonmembership in a particular ...