Know Your Rights
American Muslim Civic
"Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim"
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS AN EMPLOYEE
Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of religion, race, or national origin.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act guarantees your right to:
- Reasonable religious accommodation. The failure of an employer to reasonably accommodate your religious practices may constitute employment discrimination. 'Religious practices' include wearing a beard, prayer breaks, hijab and going to Jummah (Friday) prayers.
- Fairness in hiring, firing, and promotions. Your employer is prohibited from considering religion when making decisions affecting your employment status.
- A non-hostile work environment.Your employer must ensure that you are not subjected to anti-Muslim insults, harassment or unwelcome and excessive proselytizing.
- Complain about discrimination without fear of retaliation. Federal law guarantees your right to report an act of alleged employment discrimination. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for your complaint.
WHEN FACED WITH DISCRIMINATION ON THE JOB
- Remain calm and polite.
- Inform the offending party that you believe his/her actions are discriminatory.
- Report the discriminatory action in writing to company management.
- Begin documenting the discrimination by saving memos, keeping a detailed journal, noting the presence of witnesses and making written complaints. Make sure to keep copies of all materials. It is important to keep a "paper trail" of evidence.
- Call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 800-669-4000 or local county or state civil rights agencies to educate yourself about legal options.
- Contact a local attorney who is licensed to practice in your state to discuss your case.
- DO NOT sign any documents or resign without an attorney's advice.
- Ask to be transferred to another department or job site.
- Ask for mediation.
- Contact CAIR to file a report.
- Consider looking for a new job.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS A STUDENT
- You have the right to inform others about your religion. You have the right to pass out literature or speak to others about Islam, as long as it is not done in a disruptive manner.
- You have the right to wear religious clothing. You also have the right to wear clothing with a religious message, as long as other clothes with similar messages are allowed.
- You have the right to organize student-led prayer on campus, as long as the service is not disruptive to the function of the school.
- You may have the right to attend Friday prayer. The Supreme Court has upheld the right of states to allow students "release time" to attend religious classes or services.
- You have the right to be excused from school for religious holidays. You should be sure to inform the school that you will be absent in advance.
- You have the right to be excused from class discussions or activities that you find religiously objectionable. If you have any questions, please contact CAIR.
- You have the right to form an extracurricular Muslim student group.
KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS AN AIRLINE PASSENGER
As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. It is illegal for law enforcement officials to perform any stops, searches, detentions, or removals based solely on your race, religion, national origin, sex, or ethnicity.
If you believe you have been treated in a discriminatory manner, you should:
Ask for the names and ID number of all persons involved in the incident. Be sure to write down this information.
Ask to speak to a supervisor.
Politely ask if you have been singled out because of your name, looks, dress, race, ethnicity, faith, or national origin.
Politely ask witnesses to give you their names and contact information.
Write a statement of facts immediately after the incident. Be sure to include the flight number, the flight date and the name of the airline.
Contact CAIR to file a report. If you are leaving the country, leave a detailed message with the information above at 202-488-8787 or at www.cair.com.
It is important to note the following:
A customs agent has the right to stop, detain and search every person and item.
Screeners have the authority to conduct a further search of you or your bags.
A pilot has the right to refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. The pilot"™s decision must be reasonable and based on observations, not stereotypes. (Special thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union.)
No-Fly List and Selectee List
Individuals experiencing difficulties during travel at airports, train stations or U.S. borders may be on either the no-fly or selectee list.
It is very difficult to determine if you are on one of these lists.
You may be on the selectee list if you are unable to use the internet or the airport kiosks for automated check-in and instead have to check in at the ticketing counter. You should eventually be permitted to fly.
The no-fly list, on the other hand, prohibits individuals from flying at all. If you are able to board an airplane, regardless of the amount of questioning or screening, then you are not on the no-fly list.
If you are constantly subjected to advanced screening or are prevented from boarding your flight, you should file a complaint with DHS TRIP at www.dhs.gov/trip. Most people who file with DHS TRIP are not actually on a watch list and that service can resolve most problems.
IF FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTACTS YOU…
- American Muslims strongly support law enforcement and the protection of our national security. As Americans, we also value the civil rights of all Americans. All Americans have the constitutional right of due process and to be politically active.
- If you know of any criminal activity taking place in your community, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies.
- If you are visited by federal law enforcement agencies, remember:
- You should have a lawyer present when speaking with federal law enforcement agencies. Under the law, you have the legal right to have a lawyer present when speaking with federal law enforcement agencies. This is true even if you are not a citizen. This is your legal right. Refusing to answer questions cannot be held against you and does not imply that you have something to hide.
- You do not have to permit them to enter your home or office if they do not have a warrant. Under U.S. law, law enforcement agents must possess a search warrant in order to enter your house. If they say they have a warrant, kindly demand to see it before allowing them to enter. The warrant will specify exactly what can be searched and if they have a warrant, be courteous and polite and remember that you are under no obligation to answer questions without a lawyer present.
- You should never lie or provide false information to any law enforcement agencies. Lying to law enforcement agents is a federal crime and should never be done under any circumstance.
REACTING TO ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIMES…
- If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime, you should:
- Report the crime to your local police station immediately. Ask that the incident be treated as a hate crime. Follow up with investigators.
- Document the incident. Write down exactly what was said and/or done by the offender (including dates, times and places). Save all of the evidence and try to take photographs.
- Act quickly. Each incident must be dealt with right away, not when it is convenient.
- Decide on the appropriate action to be taken. Consider issuing a statement from community leaders, holding a news conference, organizing a peaceful protest, meeting with local officials or starting a letter writing campaign.
- Mobilize community support. Make sure that the local mosque or prominent American Muslim organizations are aware of your situation.
- Stay on top of the situation. Make sure you follow up with police, local media and community leaders to make sure that your case is receiving the attention that it deserves.
- Announce results. When the incident is resolved, make an announcement to the same people and organizations originally contacted.