EEOC Continues Focus on Religious and National Origin Discrimination Involving Muslim and Arab Communities

by Poyner Spruill LLP
Contact

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced on its website that it continues to focus on what it considers to be ongoing religious and national origin discrimination in the workplace, especially against Muslim, Sikh, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Communities.  The EEOC reports that in the initial months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Commission saw a 250% increase in the number of religion-based charges involving Muslims.  Since that time, the EEOC states that it has continued to track an increase in such charges, as well as those alleging national origin discrimination against those with Middle Eastern background.  While the Commission does not specify how many of those charges were found to have merit, it does report that it has filed nearly 90 lawsuits against employers, many of which involve alleged harassment on the basis of religion and national origin.  Thus, it is apparent that the EEOC is aggressively pursuing investigation and enforcement activities in this area.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of religion or national origin.  The harassment of individuals because of their religion or national origin is also prohibited.  Through its interpretations of Title VII, The EEOC has recognized a wide range of actions and conduct that may be potentially unlawful, including: disparate treatment, teasing or insults because of a person’s appearance, customs, language, or accent; requiring employees to speak English in the workplace; disparate treatment, jokes, or insults toward an employee because of the national origin or religion of that person’s spouse; and adverse actions based on perceptions of an employee or applicant’s national origin or religion. 

It is important to note that in addition to these prohibitions against discrimination and harassment, Title VII also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or applicant, unless doing so would cause an “undue hardship” for the employer.  The EEOC has suggested that reasonable accommodation may include, for example, providing employees with leave to attend religious observances, providing time and/or a place to pray, and permitting employees to wear religious attire in the workplace.  However, the issue of accommodation requires the employer to consider each request for accommodation on a case-by-case basis in order to determine whether accommodation is possible and reasonable under the circumstances.  

The EEOC also states that it has “intensified its outreach” to educate employees in this area of the law by issuing fact sheets on immigrant employee rights, employment discrimination based on religion and national origin, and employer responsibilities under Title VII with respect to the employment of Muslims, Arabs, South Asians, and Sikhs.  These fact sheets provide specific examples of prohibited conduct in the workplace, and also offer instructions on how employees may file charges with the EEOC.  Therefore, and in view of the EEOC’s emphasis on this particular form of discrimination, employers should review carefully these fact sheets as a part of their proactive compliance and training measures.  Employers should also remember that retaliation against anyone who files a charge or otherwise opposes unlawful discrimination is expressly prohibited under Title VII.
 

 

Written by:

Poyner Spruill LLP
Contact
more
less

Poyner Spruill LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!