New York City is home to a thriving Muslim population of over 700,000, with approximately 1 out of every 10 Muslims in the United States living in the United States. Despite local, state, and federal laws prohibiting religious-based discrimination, discrimination against Muslims continues to happen in workplaces across New York City. Illegal workplace discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee adversely because of his or her Muslim faith or national origin.
Has your employer discriminated against you because you’re a practicing Muslim or your national origin? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. New York City, New York State, and the federal government prohibit religious discrimination against Muslims. You need a New York employment lawyer who will protect your rights effectively and assertively. At Lipsky Lowe LLP, our employment lawyers have a track record of successfully representing clients in religious discrimination cases. Contact us today to learn how we can advocate for you.
Is Muslim Discrimination Prevalent in NYC?
Approximately 1% of all New York City residents are practicing Muslims who attend the estimated 250 mosques in New York City. The five boroughs of New York are home to one of the highest populations of Muslims in the United States. Brooklyn Heights and Boreum Hill, both neighborhoods in Brooklyn, have one of the largest Arab Muslim populations. Many Turkish and South Asian Muslims live in Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Parkville.
The Bronx is home to many Afghani, Albanian, South Asian, and West African Muslims. In Manhattan, many small business owners are Arab Muslims who live in East Harlem, Hamilton Heights, and Harlem. Finally, Queens is home to a growing population of North African Muslims and South Asian Muslims. Unfortunately, religious discrimination cases have happened in all five boroughs of New York City.
Muslim Discrimination Is Illegal Under State and Federal Law
The Constitution of the United States guarantees every citizen the right to exercise his or her religion freely. New York City, New York state, and federal laws also recognize the right of employees to exercise their religious beliefs in the workplace, free from religious discrimination. Your employer, or your prospective employer, has a legal duty to accommodate your Muslim religious practices whenever possible unless doing so would create an unreasonable burden. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits any type of religious discrimination in employment. Employers cannot discriminate against you because you are a Muslim when making the following types of employment decisions:
- Any other term, condition, or benefit of employment
The New York City Human Rights Law
The New York City Human Rights Law offers additional protection for Muslims and other people of faith in New York City. This law prohibits any type of discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations based on a person’s perceived or actual religion or creed. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Muslim or if someone wrongly perceives you to be a Muslim. In either case, if your employer discriminates against you because they perceive you to be Muslim, they are likely in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law.
Employers Must Make Reasonable Accommodations
Employers must provide you with reasonable accommodations to practice your faith wherever doing so doesn’t cause “undue hardship.” Suppose a Muslim employee seeks to observe Ramadan, which requires prayer immediately after the sunsets. The employee works at a fast-food restaurant from 4 p.m. to 12 p.m. She asks her employer if she can take her 15-minute break later in her shift then she usually does so she can pray immediately after sunset. Her employer refuses to move her break, even though her co-worker offers to cover her shift for her. Her employer refuses to discuss the matter any further and doesn’t offer any reason why not allowing her to take the break would place an undue hardship on the business.
Religious Harassment Is Illegal in New York Workplaces
Harassment based on your religion is also illegal under New York City, state, and federal laws. Your employers, co-workers, supervisors, and anyone else working at your place of employment. cannot harass you because of your Muslim faith. Harassment can involve making cruel jokes about your religion, taunting you because of your religious beliefs, or otherwise talking to you in a threatening or coercive manner because of your beliefs.
Segregation Based on Religion Is Illegal in New York City
Federal law also prohibits any type of segregation based on your religion, including segregating you because of your grooming practices and religious attire. For example, an employer cannot assign an employee to work in the back of the building, out of customers’ sight, because she is wearing a hajib. Employers cannot segregate their employees based on their customers’ preferences or alleged fears, either. Under no circumstance can an employer segregate you from other employees based on your religious practices or appearance. If your employer has engaged in segregating you, you should speak with an employment lawyer as soon as possible because you may have a right to compensation.
Employers Cannot Retaliate Against You For Filing a Muslim Discrimination Complaint
New York City employees who’ve experienced discrimination based on their religious beliefs have a right to file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Many employees are understandably concerned about filing a complaint because they’re worried about losing their jobs or facing some other type of retaliation from their employer. Under New York law, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against you because you filed a complaint regarding discrimination.
Contact an Experienced Muslim Discrimination Lawyer Today
If you’ve experienced discrimination because of your Muslim faith, you may have a right to file a complaint against your employer for compensation. Contact the experienced New York City employment lawyers at Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule your initial consultation.