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Sterling Employment Law

Muslim woman alleges religious discrimination after firing

Religious discrimination is a growing concern in these difficult times. In Michigan, with a large Muslim population, there are potential issues that could arise if people have their employee rights violated due to beliefs about their religion and what it entails. It is against the law for an employer discriminate against employees because of their religious beliefs, but that does not stop some employers from terminating the employment of workers because of what is thought to be workplace discrimination. When there is a perception that an employee was subjected to discrimination, it is important to know how to move forward with a legal filing.

Recently, a woman filed a federal lawsuit claiming that she was dismissed from her job because of her Muslim beliefs. The dismissal took place two days after there was a terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California. The woman worked as a receptionist at a dermatology clinic and was paid $14 per hour. She wears a head covering known as a "hijab," as is common for women of the Muslim faith. After the shooting, she says that she was not placed at her usual position as a receptionist, but was sent to the back of the office to file papers. This was not the job she had been hired to do. After two days of this, she was dismissed via email.

In the email that had passages about her positive attributes in the workplace, she was told that she was being dismissed due to the center deciding to work part-time and that full-time employees would be doing what was her job at the front desk. As a response to the lawsuit, the employer claims that the woman was fired because of her lack of typing skills. The lawsuit asserts that she would not have lost her job had she not been a Muslim.

Muslims are under scrutiny and there is a chance that employers might take their religion as some form of a threat and use it as a reason to fire them. That is the implication that has been expressed in this particular lawsuit. When there is a termination that is considered to be unfair and might have happened because of religious discrimination, the person who was fired needs to protect his or her rights by speaking to an experienced attorney about filing a lawsuit.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Suit: Muslim woman fired 2 days after Calif. shooting," Tresa Baldas, Dec. 18, 2015

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