What does this Middle East conflict have to do with employment law?
Yesterday, EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas posted on LinkedIn that the EEOC stands ready to defend the rights of Jewish employees who experience employment discrimination. She added:
What was true in May 2021 is true now: “the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent violence, harassment, and acts of bias against Jewish persons; expresses our heartfelt sympathy to and solidarity with victims and their families; and reaffirms our commitment to combat religious, ethnic, and national origin-based harassment and all other forms of unlawful discrimination and to ensure equal opportunity, inclusion, and dignity for all throughout America’s workplaces.
Your business does not have to take a public position on the battle overseas. However, it has a legal duty to protect its workers from unlawful discrimination and workplace harassment.
If your business has struggled to address antisemitism, here are five resources that may help. But it doesn’t end there.
I suspect that the current events in the Middle East may impact workers of other religions, ethnicities, and national origins, whether directly or through stereotyping. Your company should proactively address discrimination against Muslims and people of other religions, ethnicities, and national origins who may experience a rise in discrimination and adversity.
Consider reissuing the anti-harassment policy to all employees with a message addressing some of the concerns raised in this blog post. Also, remind your managers and supervisors to look for spikes in religious, ethnic, and national origin-based harassment and ensure they have the tools and support to address it effectively.