Religion is a very sensitive and complicated topic to tackle. Religion and salvation is a very sacred topic to people who have great importance with their faith. America, being a melting pot of different people with different cultures and beliefs has some of the most diverse collection of races, nationality, culture, and religion. As a land of opportunities, the United States has some of the laws that protect these diversified citizenry. However, in spite of the great protection that these laws offer, some people have been able to evade these laws and found a way to abuse, harass, and discriminate people, which includes their religion. However, there are measures that are being taken to help better curve this abuses made by some people, especially in the workplace.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an arm of the US Department of Labor is constantly working to help protect employees from different kinds of abuses, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace. Protection from acts of religious discrimination in the workplace is one of the major focuses of the EEOC’s work. Over the years, the agency has been able to come up with campaigns, formulate ideas that will help put an end to these illegal acts. More than just trying to hold people liable for the irresponsible and insensitive acts of discrimination against people, the agency also tries to educate both workers and employers to each of their rights and how can such rites be observed and respected. One of the notable works of the EEOC is the issuance of publications about different employment issues.
Recently, the EEOC issued new publications that aim to curb workplace discrimination on the basis of religion. Two new technical assistance publications were issued by the agency to help address workplace rights and responsibilities in as far as religious dress and grooming are concerned. In its “Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities” question-and-answer guide, the EEOC provided an encompassing discussion on the applicable laws (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) for various examples and the best, practical advice for employers and employees. The contents of the guide came from the EEOC’s records of litigation that it handled.
The following topics are covered in the EEOC-authored guide:
- Accommodation of religious grooming or garb practices while ensuring employer workplace needs,
- Prohibitions on job segregation, which includes the employee’s assignment to a non-customer service position, just because of his or her religious garb or grooming,
- The avoidance of cases of workplace harassment and discrimination on the basis of one’s religion. Such acts of harassment and discrimination happens when one employee is coerced by its employer to forgo religious dress or grooming practices for them to be hired, and
- Guarantee that there will be no retaliation from the employers against their employees because of these religious accommodation.
The EEOC made these guides as a way to combat the growing number of religious discrimination cases in the workplace. In 2013, the EEOC recorded around 3,721 charges of religious discrimination. This figure is twice as much as the 1,709 cases they received in 1997. This figure is expected to grow, following the Boston Bombing incident where Muslim suspects were apprehended by the authorities.
Such moves by the EEOC will ensure that people won’t be stereotyped because of their religious affiliation, and that their religion-bases grooming will be respected and won’t be used to discriminate against them. While you can always hire a Los Angeles religious discrimination attorney and file a claim to the EEOC, it would still be a lot better if there is a way that can make everybody just respect an employee for what and who he or she really is.