Anti-Islamic Religious Discrimination in the workplace

by on December 31, 2008 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Religious discrimination at work against Muslims has risen post 9/11

Jury awards $390,000 for religious discrimination at work

A Scottsdale, AZ, tech firm fired a Moroccan Muslim after he complained of discrimination, and earned itself a $390,000 damages bill.

Youssef Bouamama alleged that a supervisor asked him where he was from and if he were Muslim. He was terminated a week after he complained about being “grilled” over his national origin and religion.

A jury awarded $250,000 in punitive damages, $135,000 in back pay and $5,000 for emotional pain and suffering.

Cite: EEOC v. Go Daddy Group.

Post 9/11 bias against a Muslim

A Muslim employee’s wearing a headscarf before 9/11 was okay, but then suddenly it wasn’t. A court found this too rich to be coincidental, and concluded that her employer committed religious discrimination in the workplace.

The employee, who is from Somalia, had been allowed for two years to wear the scarf during the holy month of Ramadan. But after the September 2001 attacks, she was ordered to lose the scarf when serving customers during the following Ramadan.

As she had to serve customers all the time, this order denied her a reasonable accommodation, the judge said. She was fired when she refused to doff the headscarf.

Cite: EEOC v. Alamo Rent-A-Car

Harassment complaints by Muslims up

Complaints by Muslims about religious discrimination at work have nearly doubled in the past year.

The Council on American-Muslim Relations received 1,019 claims of physical or verbal attacks and religious discrimination in employment in 2003. That’s up from 602 claims a year earlier.

Do cool heads prevail where you work? In these tense times, HR and management must make every effort to ensure a harmonious and tolerant work environment. That could mean formal antidiscrimination training, or an informal refresher course for managers on the company’s diversity policies.

Source: Associated Press.

Employer liable for maltreated Muslim

Before 9/11 Rashidah Abdullah faced anti-Muslim harassment on the job.

After 9/11, she claimed it got a lot worse. And when she complained about it, she got fired.

Abdullah filed a religious-discrimination lawsuit against her employer. And she claimed the employer retaliated against her too – terminating her for complaining.

This lawsuit was settled before it went to court. The employer agreed to pay $40,000.

“Backlash” complaints are on the rise. Diligent HR and line managers can help avoid lawsuits like this.

Cite: Abdullah v. Norwegian American Hospital.

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