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Some U.S. employers continue to discriminate against Muslims

In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. residents were on high alert and grew increasingly suspicious of individuals who identified as being Muslim or from the Middle-East. In a recent article on our website, we discussed how discrimination against Muslims has only increased and intensified within the last 13 years. This trend is evidenced by a 156 percent increase in the number of EEOC workplace discrimination reports filled by Muslims between Sept. 2001 and March 2012.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race or religion. This protection extends to employment-related activities including hiring practices.

Despite the existence of employment laws aimed to protect job candidates and employees from suffering religious and racial discrimination, there have been numerous cases in which employers have taken action against Muslim employees based upon their dress, prayer schedule and general religious beliefs.

A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University also found that employers in certain states appear to be discriminating against Muslim job candidates. For the study researchers created resumes and online profiles for four fictitious job candidates. All of the candidates were equally qualified and had names that denoted the candidate was a U.S.-born Caucasian male.

The only differentiating factor between the candidates was provided in fake online profiles which provided information detailing whether a fictitious job candidate was gay, Muslim or Christian. The resumes of the fictitious candidates were then sent to employers in 20 states, half of which are considered to be Democratic and half of which are considered to be Republican.

While researchers reported no differences between the numbers of call backs received in the states regarding the fictitious gay job candidate, the fictitious Muslim candidate only received a two percent callback rate in Republican states as compared to a 17 percent call back rate enjoyed by the Christian candidate.

Ignorance is often a main source of discrimination and this certainly applies when it comes to the treatment of Muslims in the U.S. Individuals who believe they have suffered workplace discrimination based upon their religious beliefs would be wise to contact an employment attorney.

Source: Pew Research Center, "Study: Muslim job candidates may face discrimination in Republican states," Neha Sahgal, Nov. 2, 2014

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