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Are you facing religious discrimination due to your attire?

As a Muslim woman, you wear a hijab and long skirts. However, a new manager has moved you away from serving customers and you are now in a back office.

You are doing work that does not match your original job description, and the manager is slow to give you training. Are you experiencing discrimination because of your religion?

What happened

You work for a large, family-owned, independent bookstore that has been in the area for decades and has a reputation for good service. You have been with the company for two years and have been working with customers during that time. The manager who hired you retired recently, and the man who took his place moved you away from any interaction with customers. You are now working in a back office. There is one other employee, and your new job is to assist her in book-ordering responsibilities.

The law and discrimination

Title VII forbids any kind of discrimination in the workplace, but you believe that the new manager was uncomfortable having a Muslim woman in traditional, modest attire interact with the public. The other women in the company wear tight pants or dresses with short skirts, and because of your religion, you do not dress this way. According to the law, your employer must reasonably accommodate your religious practices, including style of dress such as your hijab and long skirts.

Report your concerns

The new manager promised to train you, but a month has passed and that has not happened. You are also uncomfortable in the new office location because the other employee says little to you. In fact, she seems to go out of her way to ignore you, leaving you feeling isolated. Contact the human resources department and report what has happened to you since the new manager came on board. If there is no HR department, go around your manager and talk to the person he reports to. If it seems your complaint is going nowhere with bookstore personnel, another option is to seek legal counsel, especially if you are concerned that termination may be the next move in the management playbook.

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