(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 2/4/2014) â€“ The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) announced today that it has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Paradigm Packaging Inc. on behalf of a Muslim woman allegedly told to remove her religious headscarf, or hijab.
The Muslim employee was hired to work the factory floor where plastic bottles are manufactured for vitamins and medicine. After working her first day without incident, she was allegedly told to remove her headscarf for safety reasons or she would not be permitted to continue working. After notifying the company that wearing the headscarf is part of her religious obligation, she was reportedly told that no religious symbols are permitted in the company.
“It has been our experience that legitimate safety concerns can easily be addressed, while at the same time providing the reasonable religious accommodations that must be offered by all employers,” said CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Director Khurrum Ali.
Both State and Federal law protect religious rights of employees. Moreover, New Jersey passed an amendment in 2008 expanding the Law Against Discrimination (LAD) with respect to religion. The LAD requires employers to accommodate an employee's sincerely held religious practice or observance, unless it would cause undue hardship. Â
According to the EEOC, 21 percent of religious discrimination complaints in 2011 involved bias against Muslim workers.Â
CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Civil Rights Director Khurrum Ali, (908) 668-5900, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-NJ Executive Director Mohamed El Filali (908) 668-5900, email@example.com; or CAIR National Executive Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper (202) 744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org