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EEOC Issues a Statement by Chair Jenny R. Yang to Address Workplace Discrimination Against Individuals Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern

WASHINGTON -- In the wake of tragic events at home and abroad, EEOC urges employers and employees to be particularly mindful of instances of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in the workplace against vulnerable communities. 

EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang released the following statement:

"America was founded on the principle of religious freedom.  As a nation, we must continue to seek the fair treatment of all, even as we grapple with the concerns raised by the recent terrorist attacks. When people come to work and are unfairly harassed or otherwise targeted based on their religion or national origin, it undermines our shared and longstanding values of tolerance and equality for all.

"We commend employers who have already taken steps to issue or re-issue policies on preventing harassment, retaliation, and other forms of discrimination in the workplace, and we encourage all employers to remain vigilant and to communicate their commitment to inclusive workplaces throughout their organizations. Workers who have experienced discrimination at work or in applying for jobs should report these incidents to the appropriate workplace official and to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or its state and local partners. We urge all employees to re-affirm these values of tolerance and equality in their interactions with their co-workers and show that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated in America's workplaces."

Today, EEOC also released two resource documents, in question-and-answer format, explaining federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination against individuals who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim or Middle Eastern. One Q&A is for employees, and the other is for employers. The Qs & As assist employers and employees in understanding their rights and responsibilities under the federal laws enforced by EEOC. The documents encourage proactive communication among employers and employees to prevent and correct discrimination.

Questions and Answers for Employers: Responsibilities Concerning the Employment of Individuals Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern includes information about and examples of employer actions that may constitute discrimination on the basis of religion, race, or national origin. This technical assistance document also identifies steps employers can take to prevent and correct discrimination in the workplace. 

Questions and Answers for Employees: Workplace Rights of Employees Who Are, or Are Perceived  to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern explains federal protections against discrimination based on religion, race, or national origin in hiring, discharge, and other terms of employment. This technical assistance document also explains the prohibition against harassment and gives examples of religious accommodation in the workplace.

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about EEOC is available on its web site at