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Muslims should not have to face religious discrimination at work

Religion plays an important role in the lives of many people in Minneapolis. For some of those who practice a religion, it is important to them that they obey their religious tenets throughout their daily lives, including while at work. One might like to think that religious discrimination in the workplace is a thing of the past, but unfortunately, it is still sometimes a reality that must be faced. For example, many Muslim women fear wearing a hijab, or head scarf, at work, for fear of discrimination, harassment or worse. Some have even given up on wearing religious garb altogether, while others fear for loved ones who do choose to wear a hijab while at work.

However, what these women and others in Minnesota should know is that, pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers with 15 employees or more must provide workers with "reasonable accommodations" when it comes to practicing their religion. For example, allowing workers to wear religious clothing, unless doing so would present some sort of "undue hardship" on the employer. And some states, including Minnesota, apply these rules to employers with less than 15 workers. These laws also apply to those applying for a job.

Therefore, in order to be afforded these legal protections, Muslim women who want to cover their heads, need to inform their employer that they do so for religious reasons. If a person, despite this, finds they are still being discriminated against due to their religion, they should take several steps. First of all, they should keep a log of what was said and when. Also, they should inform their human resources department of the religious discrimination.

If this still doesn't stop the discrimination, it may be time to discuss the matter with an attorney. A Minnesota employment discrimination attorney can help workers, who believe they have been discriminated against due to their religion, assess their situation to see if legal action can be taken. Under state and federal law, people should not have to choose between work and their religious practices.

Source: Money, "What to Do if You're Afraid to Wear a Hijab to Work," Kristen Bahler, Nov. 16, 2016

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