The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today announced the successful resolution of a case involving accommodation of the Islamic religious practice of attending obligatory Friday prayers, or Jum’ah.
The Muslim man reported to CAIR that on his first day of employment at the Palm Springs Assessor’s Office (under the jurisdiction of the County of Riverside), he was denied religious accommodation for performing the obligatory prayer after trying to make an arrangement whereby he would still work the full eight hours during normal hours of operation. His request was denied, and the man was left no choice but to submit his resignation letter.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are required to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of their employees unless an undue hardship would prevent them from doing so. Some possible accommodations without causing “undue hardship” for employers are voluntary substitutions, swaps, flexible scheduling, lateral transfers, and working longer hours on different workdays.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that they have received over a thousand complaints of workplace discrimination from Muslims during the past two years.
The County of Riverside offered its regrets to the Muslim employee and agreed to reinstate him with back-pay. They promised to ensure that he suffers no retaliation as a result of his complaint, take appropriate administrative action against those responsible, and institute religious sensitivity trainings through CAIR and the Riverside County Human Relations Commission.
“We would like to thank the County of Riverside, namely County Executive Officer Larry Parrish, for helping resolve this incident swiftly and positively,” said Southern California CAIR Executive Director Hussam Ayloush.
(Contact CAIR to receive a copy of “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices.”)