Muslims Report Increase in Discrimination at Work

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Today’s article in the NYTimes should come as no surprise, given the vitriolic attacks that we have seen in the past weeks towards Muslims. The article reports that Muslims workers are filing a record number of complaints of religious discrimination in the workplace. In the year ending September 30, 2009, Muslim workers filed a record 803 such claims. That was up 20 percent from the previous year and up nearly 60 percent from 2005, according to federal data. The number of complaints filed since September 30, 2009 will not be released until January 2011, but Islamic groups report that there has been a surge in complaint recently. Most certainly, a new record will be set.

The article includes an interesting statistic that is revealing of the discrimination that Muslims are now facing: Muslims make up less than 2 percent of the United States population, yet they accounted for about one-quarter of  the 3,386 religious discrimination claims filed with the E.E.O.C. last year.

Complaints of religious discrimination have spanned all industries and companies, from Abercrombie & Fitch to the Sheraton hotel and construction companies. All share a refusal to accommodate Muslims, by as allowing women to wear a head scarf or letting workers take a prayer break uninterrupted, as well as harassment and differential treatment based on the workers’ religion.

On October 27, Attenza Law will be presenting a free lunchtime workshop on religious accommodations and an employers obligations under state and federal law to accommodate requests such as to wear a hijab, or take a prayer break.

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