What advice can you give about workplace discrimination against atheists?

All jurisdictions in Australia have laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace because of religious belief. Non-belief is included in the provisions of the law for the purposes of Australia’s equal opportunity and human rights legislation. So atheists have the same rights against unfair dismissal as would a person fired for being a Jew or a Hindu. Not only is it against the law to discriminate against anyone in the workplace for religious reasons, it is the duty of every employer to do all that is reasonably possible to prevent it or to remedy it if it has occurred. Atheists who are the target of such discrimination can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman or assert their legal rights through the courts

Before embarking on legal proceedings or lodging a complaint with the fair work ombudsman, we suggest atheists affected by discrimination in the work place obtain legal advice. Also, the decision to initiate proceedings or complaints should not be taken lightly, as it may escalate an already unpleasant situation. The starting point is to have a discussion with the employer to determine whether the employer will support a complainant by objectively investigating a complaint and dealing with it effectively.

Unfortunately, experience suggests that a lot of employers may be either the cause of the problem or not inclined to discipline other employees who are involved in discrimination. This may be because, either they privately share the views of the offender or do not have sufficient skill to deal with these sorts of workplace problems.

It is often the case that being right and having both fairness and the law on your side doesn’t make bitterness and resentment go away after a dispute. The price for atheists standing up to discrimination can be living each working day in a poisoned atmosphere. Also, some employers have ways of getting around the law to dismiss someone who doesn’t fall in line with their beliefs. However no one should be required to work under such conditions and the more atheists who stand upo against discrimination in the workplace, the sooner such practices will disappear.