We see it here in Milwaukee and we see it happening across the United States: workers defending their rights. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), people are increasingly willing to protect their workplace rights in court.
Lawsuits against employers for workplace discrimination on the basis of religion or sexual orientation are on the rise. Legal claims against businesses have risen 44 percent over the past decade, SHRM says.
An employment law attorney who led a panel discussion on inclusion, religion and LGBTQ issues at a SHRM conference last month said cases in the two areas "are happening every day." Because some businesses refuse to discuss or consider the issues, they "don't have the first clue" as to how to respond when an employee files a complaint.
He said that when it comes to religion, accommodating different beliefs in the workplace might well include differences in attire, hair styles, holiday observances, prayer, diet and proselytizing. He said accommodations commonly include time off for holidays, the rearranging of work schedules and relaxation of dress codes.
He said that it is important for management to talk to workers and find solutions that address the needs of both the employer and employee.
He said that when it comes to LGBTQ matters, employers are increasingly crafting non-discrimination policies that make companies more inclusive. Nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have explicit policies protecting LGBTQ workers.
Workers who have experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or religion should speak with an experienced Milwaukee employment law attorney.