as a business, Can you refuse service to a religious group?
Since my comment got deleted despite being honest, noninflammatory and upvoted... let me make my statement in a slightly different way:
Are you asking if you can refuse service to a protected class (religious) based on another protected class (sexuality)?
I think the answer is within a simplified version of the question: Can you refuse business to a religious group - which happens to be a protected group?
U.S. federal law protects individuals from discrimination or harassment based on the following nine protected classes: sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, or genetic information (added in 2008)
So assuming the "client" has not done any active harassment (IE: insulting you based on your status), then what is your basis for not wanting to work with the "client"? Their religious ties?
Individuals are protected by federal law... are businesses protected?
Do Businesses hold Religious Rights? Aside from the prohibitions on
employment practices, common law holds that closely-held corporations
may have religious protections similar to those of citizens.
This issue came to the forefront of consideration in the case, Burwell
v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., The Court found that the religious
beliefs of owners of the closely-held entity were sufficiently tied to
the religious beliefs of the owners to be susceptible to protection
under the 1st Amendment.
So far, you are asking if you can refuse service to a business because of their religious ties.
I think the answer is in the question and the answer is a resounding no.
At YOUR company, the decision seems to be already made: They have accepted the contract and the work is coming to the company.
as an individual, Can you refuse to work with someone because of religion
I'd say that's a personal choice and one you have to process as an individual and as an employee.
At the personal and employee level, I think you have a few options:
- You can work with them until they discriminate against you. Then you have a case to bring.
- You can work with your boss to be placed on other projects (if possible to be placed on other projects).
- You can state your beliefs and leave/be let go for refusing to work (if not possible to be placed on other projects).
- (middle ground: you could find yourself with limited hours because "other work" is limited - no idea of how big/small/important/transient this client is)
- You can work with other employees to "encourage" your company to fire them as a company (interesting route if you fire a company because of their religion... should be an interesting lawsuit.)
- You can work with the client and push to have "warning" labels applied where applicable (kinda like facebook warnings)
- insert many other variations between options above and other inventive solutions here - there are more options than just "my way or the highway" and my above list isn't all-inclusive as far as options
my opinion: fighting intolerance (real or perceived) with intolerance (refusing to work with another protected class) is a losing battle. Not all religious people are bad - just like not all people in "your group" (whatever that may be) are good. It's your life and there are more jobs out there if its THAT important to you - but I doubt you'll find many companies willing to actively discriminate against protected classes.
And, think of all the good that can be done when you work with people you despise to turn hearts and minds: