A US federal agency has issued a comprehensive manual on religious discrimination for workers, citing a dramatic rise in workplace bias against faith minorities, particularly Muslims.
"The goal here is to promote voluntary compliance, to get everyone on the same page, to let them know what the law is," David Grinberg, spokesman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), told the USA Today on Thursday, July 31.
"We want to stop discrimination before it starts."
EEOC, responsible for enforcing laws against employment discrimination, issued the Compliance Manual on workplace religious discrimination last week.
The guide aims at implementing provisions of the Civil Rights Act regarding religious discrimination, harassment and accommodation.
The manual, which applies to any business with 15 or more employees, provides guidelines for employers on the best practices to deal with employees from a religious group.
"Employers should work with employees who need an adjustment to their work schedule to accommodate their religious practices."
The document also protects workers whose faith requires wearing specific religious garments, such as hijab for Muslim women.
It prohibits employers from adopting security requirements for employees or applicants on religious basis.
"For example, an employer may not require Muslim applicants to undergo a background investigation or more extensive security procedures because of their religion while not imposing the same requirements on similarly situated applicants who are non-Muslim."
Along with the manual, the EEOC also issued a companion question-and-answer fact sheet and best practices booklet, all available on the agency's website.
The EEOC can bring suit on behalf of victims of discrimination against employers and serves as an adjudicatory for claims of discrimination brought against federal agencies. (MORE)