Efficient and Effective Legal Representation

Was religious discrimination behind your job reassignment?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2018 | Workplace Discrimination |

Let us say a museum hired you to work as a guide for groups. The museum focus is on American history, a subject you enjoyed learning about when you were in school.

You are happy as a guide, but a new manager moves you to the operations office where you no longer have interaction with the public. You embrace Islam. You wear a headscarf. Is this why your supervisor reassigned you?

Job segregation

The manager told you that you will have a greater chance for promotion if you are working in the operations department. However, rumor has it that your manager believes groups would feel uncomfortable learning about the American Revolution from a Muslim.

Taking your manager to task

You have a vibrant personality and a good understanding of the duties required of a museum guide. Until the new manager arrived on the scene, you performed your job well, even receiving written praise from museum visitors. You tried to explain this to your manager who continues to stand by the decision to reassign you.

What the law says

Title VII prohibits segregation in the workplace. An attorney experienced with employment law will explain that this essentially is what happened to you: You have been segregated from the public and put in another position that will keep you away from the visitors where your headscarf and religion will not matter. It appears the manager has discriminated against you, but under the law, your employer must make reasonable accommodation for your religious beliefs. This might constitute making adjustments to the current company policies.

Undue hardship

Going a step further, the law says that unless it creates an undue hardship on the operation of the business–in this case, the museum–your employer must also allow you to leave work for religious observances and make accommodation for your grooming practices and wearing apparel, such as the headscarf. You brought the reassignment subject up with your manager without success. A lawsuit may be on the horizon, but your next step is to seek legal counsel to learn more about your options.