The number of religious discrimination claims filed in the past 15 years exceeds the number filed before 2001. From 1997 through 2000, the EEOC received fewer than 2,000 such charges each year. Since 2001, the number of religious discrimination claims filed each year has exceeded 2,000, and the number filed since 2008 has exceeded 3,000 a year.
This is an excerpt from Dana Wilkie’s SHRM article, In Political Climate Focused on Muslims, EEOC Cracks Down on Religious Discrimination. Wilkie talks about how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced its intention to collect better, more precise date on religious discrimination claims, and to increase awareness among workers and employers. She points to one such effort, a fact sheet specifically designed for young workers: EEOC: Religion & Your Job Rights (Also see the previously released Questions and Answers for Employees:Workplace Rights of Employees Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern.)
For good employer advice on avoiding discrimination, we point to employment law attorney Robin Shea’s post in Employment & Labor Insider, Hallelujah! 5 things about religion in the workplace that you may not have known
Shea offers five handy tips – we’ll offer the headlines, but click through to get her helpful perspective.
No. 1: “Religion” includes a lot
No. 2: It is not “religious harassment” to wear clothing or jewelry at work that relates to one’s faith.
No. 3: If an employee needs a religious accommodation, the employer has to provide it unless doing so would be an undue hardship.
No. 4: It’s not enough for an employee to tell the employer, “I need Sundays off.”
No. 5: It’s ok to let your religious “freak flag” fly at work (within reason).
EEOC Resources for employers
- Religious Discrimination
- Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
- Best Practices for Eradicating Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
- Questions and Answers for Employers: Responsibilities Concerning the Employment of Individuals Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern
- Justice Department Announces New Interagency Initiative to Combat Religious Discrimination
For additional articles about the EEOC and religious discrimination
- HRE Daily: EEOC Steps Up Data Collection on Discrimination
- National Law Review: Federal Agencies Focusing on Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
- JD Supra Business Advisor: EEOC Issues Resource Document, Announces Plans to Improve Data Collection and Outreach on Religious Discrimination
- FEDweek: EEOC Updates Guidance on Religious Discrimination