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Muslim doctors face workplace discrimination

Californians may be interested in learning about a recent survey regarding the workplace discrimination experienced by Muslim-American doctors in U.S. hospitals. The national survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago.

In the study, which was published in the journal AJOB Empirical Bioethics, 255 Muslim-American doctors were surveyed regarding their experiences and treatment in their workplaces. Nearly 25 percent reported having experienced workplace religious discrimination at least once during their careers, with some reporting religious discrimination occurring with greater frequency. The researchers found that experiencing discrimination did not differ when physicians were more religious, such as frequent prayers or wearing turbans or hijabs. The religious discrimination they experienced instead simply appeared to be based on the fact that they were members of a minority religion.

In the U.S., about 5 percent of doctors are Muslim-Americans. Many of the survey respondents who reported experiencing workplace discrimination indicated that they were prevented from advancing in their careers or were subjected to a much greater degree of scrutiny than were doctors who were not Muslim. The researchers called for more models that are data-driven to be used to decrease religious discrimination against doctors who are Muslim.

Workplace discrimination based on certain protected statuses is prohibited by federal and state law. People who feel that they have been discriminated against at work because of their chosen religion may want to consult with an employment law attorney about their options. An attorney may review the circumstances of what has occurred in order to provide advice. The attorney may then help the client to file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as with the appropriate state agency.

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