More than half of British Muslims say they are more likely to succeed in the UK, and 58% agree that young Muslims now have more role models. Surprisingly, they remain optimistic even though they face a lot of Islamophobia at work.
This was the finding of a recent survey commissioned by Hyphen, “a new online publication focused on issues important to Muslims in the UK and Europe,” carried out by pollster Savanta ComRes.
The report reveals that seven in ten British Muslims have experienced some form of Islamophobia in the workplace. This includes interactions with customers or others (44%), work-related social events (42%) and when seeking promotions (40%).
Regarding race, Black Muslims pay a double price and face higher levels of Islamophobia than other Muslims. While 37% of all Muslims reported discrimination in recruitment, this figure rises to 58% for Black Muslims.
To help companies and Muslim workers fight against discrimination in the workplace Amanda Trewhella, Associate Manager of the law firm Freeths LLP, said: “In the UK, Muslims are protected from discrimination in employment by the Equality Act 2010, which prevents discrimination on the grounds of a person’s religion or belief.
“The Act applies to applicants for employment and those already employed and prohibits an employer from directly or indirectly discriminating, harassing or victimising a person because of their religion.
“Employers must therefore ensure that they offer equal opportunities for recruitment and promotion to all individuals, regardless of their religious beliefs.
“The survey found that Black Muslims face increased discrimination in the recruitment process. In addition to religious discrimination, this can include discrimination based on race, which is also illegal under the Equality Act 2010.”
Trewhella continued: “The Act also sets out parameters for limiting the manifestation of religion at work, such as wearing the hijab. If wearing the hijab conflicts with an employer’s dress code, the employer must be able to demonstrate that its dress code is objectively justified to avoid a claim of indirect religious discrimination.
“Similarly, if an employer seeks to prevent an employee from taking time off to pray or taking annual leave during a religious holiday unless the employer can show an objective justification, this is likely to be indirect discrimination.”
So how can organisations ensure their Muslim employees are treated fairly and feel they belong in the workplace?
“The best way to avoid religious discrimination in the workplace is for companies to create a diverse and inclusive environment,” said Trewhella. “Workforce diversity has been shown to be productive and innovative, therefore good for business, as well as being the right thing to do.
“Companies should strive to create a culture where employees from all backgrounds are welcome and included, discrimination is not tolerated, and all employees feel empowered to speak out if they experience religious discrimination, whether against themselves or others.
“Employees who feel that they are being discriminated against because of their religion should, in the first instance, speak to their line manager or the human resources department to find a solution. If the employer’s internal procedures do not lead to a satisfactory outcome, or if the employer does not take any action, the employee may consider bringing a discrimination claim to the employment tribunal.
“It is sometimes difficult to prove discrimination, as people rarely admit in writing that they have treated someone less favourably because of their religion. Employment tribunal claimants prove their case by giving their own evidence of what happened and, ideally, by bringing in witnesses who can confirm what they have said.”
In this article, you learned that:
- Seven in ten British Muslims have experienced some form of Islamophobia in the workplace.
- While 37% of all Muslims reported discrimination in recruitment, this figure rises to 58% for Black Muslims.