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Harassment, Muslims and Arabs

Harassment against Muslims, Arabs and individuals form the Middle East because of their religion and national origin is on the rise in California and elsewhere due in large measure to the horrific conduct of radical Islamic groups like ISIS and Al Queda. A report released late last month from the California offices of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported that discrimination reported 933 instances of discrimination to CAIR during 2013, which is up from 854 complaints in 2012. Of those complaints, 282 were from the San Francisco Bay area.

The largest percentage of complaints of Muslims and Arabs alleging discrimination and harassment came from individuals who claim they were discriminated against or harassed in some aspect of their employment.  This harassment against employees often is manifested by hostile comments, slurs, jokes references, and other conduct by co-workers that is hateful and designed to humiliate an employee and drive them to quit.  This harassment is based on ignorance and fundamental misunderstandings of the peace loving orientation of the overwhelming majority of Muslims. 

If you are Muslim and have been subjected to hostile comments referencing your race or religion, you must act to stop the harassment conduct.  The Law Offices of Daniel Feder specializes in representing Muslims in discrimination and harassment lawsuits.  Please contact us by calling (415) 391-94767, or by completing our online contact form so we can end the harassment and discrimination against you.   

Complaints of California Muslims involving employment discrimination include allegations that the employees were harassed by co-workers and managers, denied religious accommodation requests, and were retaliated against after complaining about harassment or making requests for religious accommodations.  Some complaints alleged that co-workers made harassing comments about terrorists, politics or religion.  Another large group of complaints involved employers not allowing employees to grow beards, take breaks to pray or take time off to celebrate Eid or Ramadan.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit discrimination or harassment by an employer against employees on the basis of religions, race, sex, national origin, and other characteristics. If the harassment on the basis of race, religion, national origin, etc. is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment, that is unlawful.  An employer is legally obligated to ensure that its employees are not subjected to insults about their religion, harassment about religion, or any unwanted and excessive proselytizing. While it may not be illegal for a co-worker to make an occasional joke about the Muslim religion, or to invite the Muslim employee to come to church, if the jokes are excessive, and the co-worker preaches to the Muslim extensively about Christianity, that behavior is most likely illegal.

The law also requires an employer to accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs and practices.  If the accommodation would be considered an undue hardship for the employer, an accommodation is not legally required.

 Sometimes an employee will complain to the employer or a governmental agency about discrimination in the workplace.   Rather than investigating and correcting the problem, the employer sometimes decides to retaliate against the employee for making a complaint. The employer may reduce the employee’s hours, fire the employee, decrease the employee’s pay or take other adverse actions. These adverse employment actions are illegal, and the employee can recover damages for lost wages and emotional distress and sometimes can be sued for violating the employee’s legal rights.  An employer may also decide to terminate an employee because of his or her religion. This is illegal.  

Fortunately, federal and state laws are designed to protect workers from discrimination and harassment.  If you are Muslim and are the victim of discrimination or harassment because you are Muslim, and you reside in the San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Clara,  Daniel Feder is the attorney who can enforce your rights.  Call us at (415) 391-9476, or send us a completed online registration form.