Concerned with possible backlash following the recent events in San Bernardino and Paris, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance regarding the prevention of harassment and employment discrimination against workers who are, or perceived to be, Muslim or Middle Eastern.
Discrimination in the workplace based on religion, national origin or race is prohibited by federal and state laws. As such, employers are responsible for establishing policies for preventing harassment, retaliation and other forms of discrimination.
The EEOC guidance specifically points out that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of religion, ethnicity, country of origin or race when making decisions on issues such as hiring, job assignments, pay or termination.
In addition, employers have a duty to accommodate religious practices or dress, unless doing so poses an undue hardship. In fact, this issue of religious accommodation and employer hardship came to a head recently at a Cargill plant in Colorado when 190 Muslim workers were fired after walking out over a dispute regarding prayer arrangements versus the company’s call for productivity.
Above all, the EEOC recommends employers be proactive with regard to anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies and procedures. Prompt, corrective action is directed whenever discriminatory conduct is discovered.
If you or a family member has been a victim of workplace discrimination, harassment or have been wrongfully terminated, contact the Law Offices of Stoltze and Updegraff PLC for help.
Source: Bloomberg.com, “Concern Over Anti-Muslim Backlash Prompts EEOC Action” by Kurt Naasz, January 4, 2016.