Number of Muslim Employment Discrimination Complaints Spiking, says EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a report on 2009 Muslim-American religious employment discrimination complaints: the agency found a disturbing trend. According to the data, in 2009, Muslims filed nearly 1,490 job-related discrimination complaints – marking the fifth consecutive year that this number has increased. Mark Benjamin, a reporter for Salon.com, talked to Arab-American Anti Discrimination Community Director Abed Ayoub about the trend line. Per Ayoub: “I am not the least bit surprised… the data just reaffirms what we see… employment discrimination is a priority issue.”

In the Salon.com article, Benjamin points out that the EEOC’s complaint numbers (from Muslims, regarding employment discrimination) spiked from 2000 to 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. They went from just 557 in 2000 to nearly 1,500 in 2002. But after 2002, the number of complaints dropped precipitously, reaching a low in 2004 of 694.

So what can account for the near doubling in complaints from 2004 to 2009? Some analysts suggest that, perhaps, more victims of religious discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are feeling more comfortable making allegations. Other experts suggest that a wave of recent xenophobic sentiment may be driving the trend. In other words, perhaps de facto religious discrimination is on the rise in American workplaces.

Still other analysts believe that the trend may be tied into general economic malaise. For instance, social psychology studies show that when societies go through severe economic downturns (e.g. recessions, depressions, etc), xenophobia in said societies tends to increase. The most obvious explanation for this is that the disempowered workforce uses scapegoating as a means of deflecting feelings of frustration, anger and disempowerment.

In any event, if you or someone you care about has been the victim of religious discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, or any other kind of workplace mistreatment, you deserve solid legal input. Trust the team at Joseph & Kirschenbaum to provide a confidential and no obligation consultation. Visit www.jhllp.com to learn more, or call the firm at (212) 688-5640 to schedule your consultation now.