The South Carolina Human Affairs Law prohibits employers of 15 or more persons from discriminating in employment because of religion (SC Code Sec. 1-13-10et seq.). The term “religion” means all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief. Under the state law, an employer may not take any of the following actions on the basis of religion:
• Refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate with respect to an individual's compensation or terms and conditions of employment.
• Limit, segregate, or classify applicants or employees in a way that would tend to deprive them of employment opportunities or adversely affect their employment status.
• Reduce the wages of any employee in order to comply with the law.
• Discriminate against applicants or employees in an apprenticeship or training program.
• Publish an advertisement for employment indicating a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination.
Retaliation prohibited. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against any individual who has made a complaint or assisted in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the state Human Affairs Law.
Religious institutions. The law does not apply to religious qualifications required by religious corporations, associations, and societies, or educational institutions owned or controlled in whole or in part by a religious group (SC Code Sec. 1-13-80).
Bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ). It is permissible to hire an individual on the basis of religion when religion is a BFOQ reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business. Such situations are extremely rare, however, and employers should be very cautious in relying on such a defense when making ...