Recently, a federal court released a rule that requires employers be more vigilant about seemingly “casual” negative remarks in the workplace.
This case heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals emphasize that supervisors and even coworkers should not ask questions about employee’s religion, national ancestry or country of origin. Employers also should not make derogatory remarks about religions. It is important for an employer to conduct anti-discrimination training for all managers. This is emphasized in the report.
In EEOC v. Go Daddy Software Inc. the court ruled two passing remarks, more than a year apart, by two different supervisors, were enough to show a pattern of illegal discrimination against a religious employee. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged discrimination based on religion and national ancestry.
Youseff Bouamama was a Muslim born in Morocco. He was hired by the company in late September, 2001. Just because he spoke French to a customer, he was quizzed by the manager. Shortly after the 911 terrorist attacks on New York, the supervisor also made comments to the effect that Muslims needed to die. Because of such incident, the jury ruled that Bouamama was the victim of illegal discrimination. He was also found terminated as retaliation when he complained of this discrimination to HR.