Whether fueled by hatred and anger or general ignorance, acts of discrimination and harassment have no place in any workplace. From comments, jokes and insinuations to overt acts of aggression; no employee should ever feel disrespected or bullied because of their national origin or religion.
In recent years, there have been many documented cases involving discrimination and harassment against individuals who are Muslim or from middle-eastern countries. In cases where a Muslim man or woman is harassed or discriminated against at work because of their dress, religious customs and overall beliefs; legal action may be appropriate.
Three employees who identify as Arab Muslims were recently awarded $100,000 as part of a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on their behalf. According to the lawsuit, the three employees were targets of workplace discrimination at the hands of their company’s managers.
Included in the complaint against the defendants are claims that managers routinely made disparaging and disrespectful comments about the employees’ religion and religious beliefs. Additionally, managers are accused of referring to the employees as “terrorists” and as members of “Hezbollah”.
In addition to the $100,000 the defendant must pay the employees, under the terms of the settlement, the company must also conduct employee training related to the Civil Rights Act. In an effort to promote a company culture of tolerance and understanding, the trainings must focus on and encourage employees to comply with provisions of the Civil Rights Act.
Large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles are home to men and women of all races, sexual orientations, religions and national origins. Employers must work to encourage a work culture of inclusiveness and appreciation of these differences. Those who fail to do so may be subject to legal action in the form of an employment discrimination lawsuit.
Source: Chicago Tribune News, “Rizza Cadillac to pay $100K in discrimination case,” Gregory Pratt, June 29, 2014, Southtown Star, “Tinley Park dealership settles EEOC complaint,” Mike Nolan, June 26, 2014