Phillips & Associates

Religious and National Origin Discrimination Against Those Who Are, or Are Perceived to Be, Muslim or Middle Eastern


Despite the federal and state prohibitions against discrimination based on religion or national origin, it is still a common practice in today’s workplace. Recently, there have been many reports and studies indicating that there has been a rise in discrimination against Muslims and individuals with Middle Eastern heritage, due in part to the ongoing political and cultural tensions in other parts of the world. As the laws make clear, however, there is no legitimate excuse for discriminating based on religion or national origin. At Phillips & Associates, our dedicated New York City religious discrimination lawyers have represented many people who have become victims of someone else’s biases and prejudices in the workplace. If you are in this situation, you can bring a claim to pursue compensation.


The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a number of New York State and City laws have codified protections for workers from discrimination based on national origin. A number of specific protections stem from the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which applies to any employer with four or more employees. National origin discrimination occurs when an individual receives unfair treatment because of his or her country of origin, ethnicity, accent, or ancestry.

Discrimination occurs even when the employer or the employer’s agent has a mistaken perception about the employee’s national origin. Courts have defined this protection broadly, finding employers liable when they discriminate based on an employee’s cultural practices or customs. Some examples of national origin discrimination include:

  • Harassment including offensive remarks relating to a person’s religious beliefs or national origin.
  • Using racial epithets about an individual’s perceived or actual ethnicity.
  • Only requesting work authorization paperwork from non-Caucasian employees.
  • Refusing to hire someone based on a belief that his or her national origin prevents him or her from fulfilling the job’s requirements.
  • Refusing an accommodation relating to a person’s religious beliefs or national origin.

Similarly, a number of federal and state laws provide multiple protections against discrimination in the workplace based on an applicant’s or employee’s religious beliefs. This includes not only commonly recognized religions but also ethical, moral, and spiritual beliefs. Religious discrimination commonly arises in a situation known as a hostile work environment. This arises when a particular employee is repeatedly singled out, harassed, subjected to disparaging comments, or treated differently based on his or her religion. If, for example, a Muslin employee were prohibited from attending daily prayers and ridiculed for this practice, the employee would likely be able to establish that a hostile work environment existed. The anti-discrimination laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for religious practices if it would not result in an undue burden on the employer.


If you have been subjected to workplace discrimination based on your actual or perceived status as a Muslim or an individual of Middle Eastern origins, you may be entitled to compensation. Bringing a claim against your employer after experiencing such humiliating and unnecessary treatment can seem like a daunting process. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City religious discrimination attorneys will stand by you through each step of the litigation while ensuring that your privacy is protected and your rights are asserted at all times. We proudly serve people throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester. Call us at 212-248-7431 or contact us online to set up a free appointment with a national origin discrimination attorney.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
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I was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
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