Religion plays an important part in the lives of many people in this country. They may use religious teachings and customs to help them make certain decisions, and their beliefs may influence the clothing that they wear. When a place of employment bans individuals from wearing clothing associated with their religious beliefs, or otherwise creates a hostile work environment based on their religion, the affected workers may have reason to report this discrimination.
It was recently reported that three women have filed a lawsuit in Delaware over this scenario. The women are of the Muslim faith and used to work at a state detention center. As is common among Muslim women, they wear hijabs, or head coverings, to cover their hair. After arriving at work, the women were told by their supervisors that they could not wear their hijabs in the workplace and could not work until they removed them.
The women requested to wear a different type of head covering that would pose less of a safety concern when working with potentially violent youth or to be transferred, but those requests were denied. One woman stated that she tried to continue working and wearing her hijab but was made to go home on multiple days and was eventually told to stop wearing the hijab or to resign. Now the women are suing state officials and the Department of Services of Children, Youth and their Families for religious discrimination.
No one should be forced to choose between their religious beliefs and their employment. In fact, discrimination based on religious beliefs is against the law, and as this case shows, these violations can lead to legal action. If workers believe that they have been discriminated against due to their religion, they should obtain more information on their legal rights and options from an employment lawyer.