Federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits religious discrimination by employers with 15 or more employees (42 USC 2000e-2). Under Title VII, it is unlawful to discharge or otherwise discriminate against or harass applicants or employees on the basis of religion. In addition, Title VII requires that an employer provide reasonable accommodation for an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless it would cause the employer an undue hardship.
Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against an individual based on his or her association with a person of a particular religion. For example, it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee because of his spouse's religious beliefs.
Title VII permits religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies to hire only individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the organization's activities. It is not unlawful for a school, college, university, or other educational institution to hire and employ employees of a particular religion if the school is owned, supported, controlled, or managed by a particular religion or religious entity, or if the curriculum of the school is directed toward the growth of a particular religion. For example, a school or university owned by the Catholic church can require that all the teachers it hires are Catholic.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that there is a ministerial exception to federal fair employment laws that bars employment discrimination suits against a religious organization by a minister (Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 132 S. Ct. 694 (2012)). In ...