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Religious discrimination in the workplace

Michigan workers may know that discrimination in the workplace is illegal under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This includes religious discrimination. In a case before the United States Supreme Court, the plaintiff states that her use of religious headgear deprived her of the opportunity to work for a major clothing manufacturer as a model.

According to reports, a woman sought a position where she would be working among customers. The retailer supports what it describes as a collegiate look and forbids employees to wear headgear of any kind. The applicant wore a headscarf in keeping with her Muslim faith to the interview. One report suggests that the employer assumed that the scarf had religious significance. Because of the scarf, the job applicant's score was reduced, and she was not recommended for the position.

According to Title VII, an employer may not deny employment to an individual based on religion and must make reasonable accommodation for that person. If the employer shows the accommodation would present an inordinate hardship, an exception may be made. The report suggested that court would rule in favor of the applicant judging from the oral arguments that had occurred at the time of reporting.

When an employee experiences religious discrimination in the workplace, he or she may challenge such behavior. Under the law, the individual has certain rights, and speaking with an attorney may be beneficial. The attorney may review the case to determine if the employer's obligation under Title VII was broken. If so, the attorney may assist the individual in filing a complaint using the proper channels.

Source: The Atlantic, "Segregating Workplaces by Religion," Dawinder S. Sidhu, March 3, 2015

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