New York City restaurants accused of discrimination
By Thomas Ricotta on August 15th, 2014 in Workplace Discrimination
Workers who belong to particular classes are afforded certain protections in the workplace. One of those protected classes is religion. When an employer exhibits behavior deemed to discriminate against an employee, that business could potentially face a lawsuit.
A man who works in a New York City restaurant recently filed a discrimination lawsuit against four restaurants owned by a man who achieved some fame on the reality program “Top Chef.”
In the lawsuit the worker, who is Muslim, claims that he was a scheduled to work on Fridays despite previously discussing with supervisors, having the day off for religious purposes. When he attempted to make the best of the situation by taking a break during his shift to attend prayer services, the man claims that he was told he could not leave the restaurant during his shift. When he lodged a complaint with individuals higher up in the business, he said he lost his job.
The lawsuit contends that he is not the only Muslim employee to experience this type of treatment. Accordingly, the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court, seeks to establish a class that would include all of the Muslims who work at restaurants owned by the chef.
The lawsuit alleges that Muslim workers routinely are denied the right to exercise their religion. To try to keep them from practicing it the lawsuit claims that they are threatened with fewer hours or in the alternative, the loss of their job.
For its part, a representative for the restaurants indicates that they believe there is little basis for the lawsuit. Nonetheless it will be investigated.
It is fair to say that bias against Muslims has increased since September 11, 2001. That does not justify discriminating against a worker because he or she is a member of that faith however. Businesses that do could find that they are facing a lawsuit such as this one.
Source: New York Daily News, “David Burke of ‘Top Chef’ fame cooks up discrimination against Muslim workers: suit,” Rich Schapiro, Aug. 13, 2014