If you suffered workplace religious discrimination because you are Muslim, you may be able to pursue an employment law claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. You will need to gather supporting evidence and documentation for your claim, so you can support your claim and show you suffered religious discrimination on the job. You usually have 180 days to pursue a claim, but if there are state laws to support you as well, you may have 300 days.
Examples of Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
Religious discrimination may be blatantly obvious, or it could be more discreet. You may be offended by Islamophobic comments made by managers or coworkers. You could be called a derogatory name and or jokes could be directed toward you due to your religion. You may be the focus of jokes, or you may be subjected to rude comments. Document any of these comments or behaviors.
Being prohibited time to pray or being told you cannot wear specific articles of clothing that are part of your religious beliefs or practices. In this situation, if you are told you cannot wear a hijab, dupatta, or abaya, and you must wear these articles of clothing for your religious observations, you can file an employment law claim based on religious discrimination in the workplace. If you ask for specific time off for religious observations or religious holidays and are denied those requests despite your employer having enough staff to do the job, that may also be grounds for a claim.
Filing a Claim for Religious Discrimination at Work
To get your claim underway, gather supporting evidence and documentation then meet with a representative in the company’s human resources (HR) department or with a supervisor. You should be very specific about the situation and provide details. Give them copies of your documentation and evidence and be sure to keep the original documents for later.
Document reporting the incident. Be sure to jot down who you spoke with, the date and time of the discussion, and the response you received. Keep all correspondence regarding your claim with your employer. If the complaint to your employer does not resolve the matter, you will need to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the equivalent state agency.
You can go online to find EEOC locations. Depending on where you are located, your state may have a “work share” agreement with the EEOC. In that case, you file a complaint with one agency, then it goes to both the state and federal agencies for investigation. In Wisconsin, you can file a claim with the Department of Workforce Development. You will then file your complaint via phone conversation, through an online process, or you can print documents to complete and mail in. If they EEOC or state agency cannot reach a satisfactory resolution with your employer regarding your claim, they will suggest you file a federal lawsuit against your employer.
Remedies for Religious Discrimination
If you are Muslim and you are a victim of workplace religious discrimination, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages through an employment law claim. Your losses could include lost wages and benefits, or you may be entitled to a pay raise or a promotion or you may be reinstated to your position with backpay. Your employer could also face penalties, fines, and reprimands from federal or state agencies depending on the circumstances.
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