Muslim employees have increasingly been demanding that their employers accommodate their “religion” by providing at their own expense prayer rooms and exceptions to wear a particular dress.
Bloomberg News reports that while only 1 percent of the U.S. population are Muslim, they represent 40 percent of “religion-based” workplace complaints filed with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) last year.
It states, “the agency has pursued a wide range of disputes, including whether Muslims can be fired for refusing to handle pork or alcohol at work. In many instances, the courts have said they cannot.”
In an effort to avoid litigation, workplace violence or conflict, and keep workers hired, companies are meeting these new demands by:
setting aside rooms for prayer, organizing group discussions about the religion and planning office parties without alcohol. The motivations may be principled, but the moves are practical. Managers want to keep talented workers and avoid conflict, and litigation.”
One of the main needs is prayer rooms,” Bloomberg News’ Carol Hymowitz explains in a segment on Keeping the Workplace Safe for Muslims. “Devout Muslims pray as many as three times a day during the work day.”
And, she said, “They also want tolerance in terms of their dress.”
(Translation: employees should be allowed to freely wear hijabs, headscarfs, and prayer caps.)
Michelle Phillips, an employment law attorney, told Bloomberg News:
If employers don’t start taking these issues seriously, and put in measures to ensure that no one is subject to harassment, we’re going to see more claims.”