Muslims face discrimination in the workplace (still?)

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

The New York Times ran an article today regarding how Muslim Americans are reporting religious discrimination  in the workplace.  I wrote an article during my internship in D.C. about a campaign called “Workplace Flexibility 2010” meant to combat this issue for all religions.

According to the New York Times article, Muslim employees made 803  claims regarding workplace discrimination in 2009– a record amount. This is a 20 percent increase from 2008 and 60 percent increase from 2005.

Claims ranged from being called names such as “Osama,” “terrorist” and  “Al Qaeda” to not being allowed to wear their headscarf at work to even having animal blood and bones thrown at them.

Yes, blood and bones. Really, Americans? Have you learned nothing about being a free and accepting people?

For those sorts of cases, The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed several lawsuits on behalf of Muslims.

Clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch, is among the offenders.  They are being accused  of discrimination for refusing to hire an 18-year-old Muslim because she was wearing a head scarf. Apparently the manager made a note on the interview form that the girl did not have the “Abercrombie look.”

And get this. It’s not the first time Ambercrombie & Fitch have found themselves in a discrimination case. In 2004, Abercrombie agreed to pay $40 million to settle an E.E.O.C. lawsuit. The charge was regarding  racial bias against Asian, black and Hispanic employees. The employees said they had been steered to low-visibility, back-of-the-store jobs.

However, Abercrombie’s general counsel Ronald A. Robins Jr.  said the company disputed both claims. He said the retailer “makes every reasonable attempt to accommodate the religious practices of associates and applicants, including, when appropriate, allowing associates to wear a hijab.”

It’s stories like these that make me wish that people were doing something– anything to make a lasting change rather than just suing people in court. That’s why it’s a shame Th Work Flexibilty 2010  campaign was never mentioned in this kind of article. The campaign actually does help raise awareness, so it’s a shame it wasn’t mentioned. They even have this nifty “Work-Flex Even Starter Kit” for businesses to use. Check it out!

  1. taylorhaag says:

    This has got to stop. It is embarrassing to hear that Americans can’t lock up their own behaviors enough to treat co-workers with decency. A few claims of workplace dicrimination is too many let alone 803.
    What a shock to hear that Abercrombie discriminates, not. Just go to one of their awkward raves filled with scantly clad individuals that they like to call a “store” and it’ll make sense.

  2. penlandbs says:

    This is so sad to hear. In a melting pot nation that is so bent on equality, it is hard understand why people feel the need to discriminate. It seems like we as a country always take two steps back for every step forward.

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