Are You Suffering Religious Discrimination in the Wake of the Paris Attacks?

With the recent attacks in Paris, the potential threat of more across the globe, and civil war and unrest in the Middle East, there will be a lot of employees talking while at work about these events and ranting their frustrations. It is our natural instinct to get upset and angry over tragic events, and people should be free to express themselves. While we are all horrified at what happened in Paris, venting that frustration on co-workers who just happen to be Muslim, is inappropriate. It is also unlawful.

Harsh opinions that lump all persons of any faith in a particular box have a greater likelihood of being offensive to one’s coworkers. However, it is bound to happen.

So what do you do if you find yourself being discriminated against based on your religious beliefs? Keep a report of any incident, including: dates, location, and any witnesses. Print out or photograph any offensive or written material. Report it all in writing to Human Resources. If HR fails to act, file a complaint with the EEOC and/or contact a local employment attorney in your area.

Let’s just make sure you got that bit: It is illegal to harass, demean, or otherwise mistreat a person in his or her place of employment because of that person’s religion.

Harassment can include offensive remarks about a person's religious beliefs or practices. Although the law doesn't generally prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or other innocuous isolated incidents, harassment is illegal, and what starts as teasing often crosses the line, becoming severe enough that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.  Even worse, it can result in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

If you find yourself the victim of anti-Muslim sentiment on the job, you have a remedy.  Call an employment attorney who represents employees, and have them assess your situation and determine what your most effective remedy may be.

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