Know Your Civil Rights
- Your rights as an employee
- When faced with discrimination on the job
- Your rights as an airline passenger
- Your rights as a student
- Reacting to incidents of anti-muslim hate
- Reacting to acts of discrimination
- Know your rights if contacted by the FBI
YOUR 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:
1) Reasonable religious accommodation. The failure of an employer to reasonably accommodate your religious practices constitutes discrimination. “Religious practices” includes wearing a beard, hijab, prayer on the job, and going to Jumah prayer.
2) Fairness in hiring, firing, and promotions. Your employer is prohibited from considering religion when making decisions affecting your employment status.
3) A non-hostile work environment. Your employer must ensure that you are not subjected to anti-Muslim insults, harassment or unwelcome, excessive proselytizing.
4) Complain about discrimination without fear of retaliation. Federal law guarantees your right to report an act of alleged discrimination. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for your complaint.
WHEN FACED WITH DISCRIMINATION ON THE JOB
1) Remain calm.
2) Inform the offending party that you believe his/her actions are discriminatory.
3) Report the discriminatory action in writing to company management.
4) Begin documenting the discrimination by saving memos, keeping a detailed journal, noting the presence of witnesses, and making written complaints (keep copies). Create a “paper trail.”
5) Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and local county or state civil rights agencies to educate yourself about legal options.
6) Contact an attorney to discuss your case.
7) DO NOT sign any documents or resign without an attorney’s advice.
8) Ask to be transferred to another department or job site.
9) Ask for mediation.
10) Contact CAIR to file a report.
YOUR RIGHTS AS AN AIRLINE PASSENGER
As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory. If you believe you have been treated in a discriminatory manner, immediately:
1) Ask to speak to a supervisor.
2) Ask if you have been singled out because of your looks, dress, race, ethnicity, faith, or national origin.
3) Ask for the names and ID numbers of all persons involved in the incident.
4) Ask witnesses to give you their names and contact information.
5) Write down a statement of facts immediately after the incident. Be sure to include the flight number, the flight date, and the name of the airline.
6) Contact CAIR to file a report.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A STUDENT
1. 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.
2. 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 messages are allowed.
3. You have the right to organize student-led prayer on campus, as long as the service is not disruptive.
4. 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.
5. You have the right to be excused from school for religious holidays. You should inform the school that you will be absent.
6. You have the right to be excused from class discussions or activities that you find religiously objectionable.
7. You have the right to form an extracurricular Muslim student group.
REACTING TO INCIDENTS OF ANTI-MUSLIM HATE
If you believe you have been the victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime or discrimination, you should:
1. Report the incident to your local police station and FBI office IMMEDIATELY. Ask that the incident be treated as a hate crime. Ask witnesses to give you their name and contact information.
2. Inform CAIR even if you believe it is a “small” incident. Incidents may be reported online here.
3. Document the incident. Write down exactly what was said and/or done by the offender. Save evidence. Take photographs.
4. Act quickly. Each incident must be dealt with when it happens, not when convenient.
5. Decide on the appropriate action to be taken. Consider issuing a statement from community leaders, holding a news conference, organizing a protest, meeting with officials, or starting a letter writing campaign.
6. Mobilize community support. Contact CAIR and a local mosque or organization.
7. Stay on top of the situation.
8. Announce results. When the incident is resolved, make an announcement to the same people and organizations originally contacted.
REACTING TO ACTS OF DISCRIMINATION
1. Remain calm.
2. Report the discrimination to the appropriate authorities and to CAIR.
3. Document the discrimination. Save memos. Keep a detailed journal. Note the presence of witnesses. Keep copies of all correspondence. Create a “paper trail.”
4. Ask witnesses to give you their name and contact information.
5. Consider contacting a lawyer.
Take steps to increase security of your local mosque, Islamic center or school.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS IF CONTACTED BY THE FBI
American Muslims support strong law enforcement. We also treasure civil rights. Your right to be politically active or to hold different beliefs/views is protected by the Constitution. If the FBI visits you, remember:
1. Never lie or provide false information to the FBI. Lying to an FBI agent is a crime.
2. You have no obligation to talk to the FBI, even if you are not a citizen. Refusing to answer questions cannot be held against you. It does not imply that you have something to hide.
3. You do not have to permit them to enter your home. FBI agents must possess a search warrant in order to enter your home. If they say they have a warrant, demand to see it before allowing them to enter. Even if they have a warrant, you are under no obligation to answer questions. ALWAYS have an attorney present when answering questions.
4. Contact CAIR and an attorney for advice.