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Blackwell Security Services, Inc. Pays $70,000 in Anti-Muslim Discrimination Suit


The workplace should be a sanctuary of productivity and professionalism, where the merits of one’s work speak louder than their personal beliefs or background. Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace, particularly religious discrimination, continues to be an all-too-frequent occurrence, affecting countless employees.

One such instance is the recent case of Blackwell Security Services, Inc., which ended in the company paying a $70,000 settlement in an anti-Muslim discrimination lawsuit. As victims of workplace discrimination persevere to claim rightful justice, it’s essential to understand these situations and know that support and legal means are available to prevent such instances from occurring unchecked. Keep reading to learn more about this case.

Blackwell Security Services, Inc. Refuses Religious Accommodation

According to HR Dive, Blackwell Security Services, Inc. faced charges after refusing religious accommodation to an employee. Filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the plaintiff worked as a concierge and wore a bead as a practicing Muslim.

Allegedly after hire, a Blackwell supervisor told the plaintiff that all male workers must be clean-shaven. The plaintiff asked for religious accommodation. However, management allegedly told the worker he would either shave or be fired. This caused the plaintiff "significant distress," according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Furthermore, according to the EEOC, accommodating the plaintiff's religious practice would not have caused an "operational burden on the business" or cost.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is foundational in ensuring that employees from diverse religious backgrounds can work in a respectful and accommodating environment.

As stated by the EEOC, it "makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit."

As such, Blackwell will be paying $70,000 and providing managers with training in laws that prohibit religious discrimination. The regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District Office states that "There was no need for this employee to be forced to choose between his religion and his livelihood.”

How Common Is Religious Discrimination in the Workplace?

Workplace religious discrimination is all too common. The case against Blackwell Security Services Inc. is just one of the many.

A report by First Liberty indicates that religious discrimination complaints comprise a significant portion of workplace discrimination charges filed with the EEOC. Data shows that in 2021, a total of 2,111 religious discrimination complaints were filed. In 2022, that number rose to 13,814. In total, religious discrimination complaints were nearly 20% of all workplace complaints filed.

Examples of Religious Discrimination at Work

Religious discrimination can be subtle or overt, and recognizing it is the first step toward addressing it.

Examples can include:

  • An employee being harassed for practicing Buddhism
  • A worker being fired for wearing a hijab
  • An employee being assigned undesirable assignments and projects because they are Jewish
  • A worker receiving offensive comments about their religion

Religious discrimination can take various forms in the workplace. However, it's important to note that the law protects individuals who adhere to traditional religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and others. Additionally, individuals with sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs are also guarded by these legal provisions.

Seeking Legal Support

If you believe you're experiencing religious discrimination at work, it's crucial to know that there are avenues to seek justice. Our discrimination lawyers at Shellist Lazarz Slobin are well-versed in navigating the complexities of employment law and can offer guidance and representation.

By contacting our discrimination lawyers, you can explore your legal options and work towards a resolution that upholds your right to practice your religion. Our team is ready to help you seek a resolution and zealously represent you.

Contact our firm today when you call (713) 352-3433 or send us an online message.

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