Thank you very much for clarifying and for your patience in allowing me to respond.
Offensive religious comments can give rise to a claim for hostile work environment, and retaliation against an employee who reports such hostility would be illegal. However, in order for a valid hostile work environment claim to arise, and thus protection from retaliation for complaining about it, the harassing conduct must typically be severe.
The courts have made clear that they will not be the arbiter of all employee disputes. Hostile work environment claims, along with the protection of state and federal anti-discrimination laws, cannot be premised upon single or isolated incidents unless those incidents are extreme and outrageous. Title VII.” Rogers v. EEOC, 454 F.2d 234, 4 EPD ¶ 7597 (5th Cir. 1971) (finding that a “mere utterance of an ethnic or racial epithet which engenders offensive feelings in an employee would not affect the conditions of employment to a sufficiently significant degree . . . "
Employers can require employees to attend meetings and can remove employees from the work schedule without advanced notice. Thus, the best course of action is typically to attend the meeting and provide honest and forthcoming responses. If any statements are made during the meeting that would tend to support a claim for "retaliation" arising from your report of offensive comments, make note of those statements. It is also a good idea, to the extent practical, to correspond in writing with your employer. If you have a verbal conversation, send written confirmation of it as a followup.
Doing these things will create the necessary documentation of any harassment or retaliation that an individual in your circumstance would need to prevail on their claim.
An individual who believes he or she has been the subject of unlawful discrimination or harassment and wishes to file a lawsuit must first file a formal complaint of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either the EEOC or the DFEH will issue an authorization to sue after they investigate the claim. A claimant need to file with both agencies. Finally, if an individual in your circumstance decides to sue, they must not miss their deadline. Under federal law in California, a claimant has 300 days from an act of discrimination to file a complaint.
For information on how to bring a claim through California's DFEH, visit this link: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints.htm
For information on how to bring a claim through the EEOC, visit this link: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm
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