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Workplace Islamophobia and Its Detrimental Effect on Muslim American Workers

Posted by Athena M. Herman | Apr 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

The idea of the American dream reinforces that anyone, despite their religion, race or national origin can be prosperous and obtain success if they work hard enough. But for many Americans, particularly U.S. Muslims, the belief in this dream is fleeting. Although studies reveal that a diverse workplace reaps many benefits, employers who perpetuate prejudiced attitudes towards Muslims have severely limited their accessibility to certain jobs, or have created hostile work environments for Muslim workers. A new study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, affirms the realities of what being a Muslim American worker is like in the post-9/11 era.

The study analyzed a number of call-backs job applicants who self-identified as Muslims received in comparison to those who identified as Christians. For the purposes of this study, candidates in both religious groups shared the same names and credentials. In conclusion, findings revealed that only 2% of Muslim candidates received interview invitations in comparison to the 17% of Christian candidates who were invited to these jobs to interview. And even when Muslims are eventually interviewed and hired for these careers, discriminatory practices and behaviors on the behalf of employers and coworkers do not cease.

According to a report released by the Center for American Progress, Muslims have endured workplace discrimination at astounding rates for years.

“In the years following September 11th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a staggering 250 percent rise in the number of religion-based discrimination complaints filed,” the center stated. “And while Muslims make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for one-quarter of the religious discrimination complaints filed in 2011.”

Researchers blame the issues Muslim employees face in the workplace on a lack of knowledge from their work counterparts. regarding the Islamic culture and religion. According to Joyce Dubensky, the chief executive officer of the Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York, the words “Muslim”, “Middle East” and “terrorist” are conflated in the minds of many employers and co-workers. This misconception leads them to assume that those in this religious group are prone to violence and harbor feelings of Anti-Americanism. She explained that people who have been exposed to Islam and its true practices have found that terrorism is an aberration of this religion.

But it seems as though many lawmakers have ignored this distinction. Regulation that condemns Shariah law and marginalizes Muslim Americans has been proposed by several lawmakers. For example, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and several other lawmakers provided baseless accusations against Huma Abedine, an aide of Hillary Clinton, of being in contact with the Muslim Brotherhood. They even went as far to ask the State Department to investigate Abedine's supposed “relationship” with the group.

Researchers claim that if these prejudiced attitudes are deemed acceptable by people who make law and have the ability to shape the future of working Muslims, they will undoubtedly continue to adversely impact the employment and livelihood of the average Muslim American worker.

If you feel like you have been treated unfairly in regard to your religious beliefs, sex, race, gender or national origin, you should speak with an attorney. A lawyer with experience handling these types of cases can help you resolve these issues through legal recourse. Contact Benassi & Benassi today to get the justice you rightfully deserve.

About the Author

Athena M. Herman

Athena M. Herman practices in the areas of employment discrimination law, general employment law, and civil rights law...


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Practice Areas

Workers’ Compensation
Motor Vehicle Accident
Family Law/Dissolution
Personal Injury/Nursing Home Negligence/Medical Malpractice
Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

Practice Areas

Employment Discrimination
Retaliation claims and Whistleblower in the Workplace
Class Action Lawsuit and Multi-Plaintiff Cases
Civil Rights Litigation
Employment Law