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Religious Discrimination in the Workplace


In the year since the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States Government has taken special care to remind the public not to discriminate against individuals because of their national origin or religion.  On November 19, 2001, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs released a "Joint Statement Against Employment Discrimination in the Aftermath of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks."  The statement reaffirms the government's commitment to the civil rights of all working people - including but not limited to people who are, or who are perceived to be, Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Sikh - and encourages any individual who falls within these categories to come forward and report any harassment or discrimination.

This article addresses two prominent issues that arise in a context of religious discrimination: (1) harassment claims; and (2) failure to accommodate claims.  In addition to identifying the legal framework under which these issues are addressed, the article describes practical pointers in responding to these claims.

This article appeared in the October 2002 issue of For the Defense.


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