U3 1st response: Addressing Diversity in Criminal Justice Policies Academic Help

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Asalah is a Muslim female who has immigrated to the United States with her husband and two children. Her husband is considered moderate and progressive in his ideals. Asalah is working in the female section of the county jail. Although she is progressive, she still feels that she should wear a khimar (type of head scarf), but by policy, this is not allowed within a jail setting.

To follow policy and procedure, she does not wear any covering in the female section but wishes to wear the khimar when coming into and leaving the jail setting because there are males in this institution.

She has just heard from her family that they are coming for a visit. Her family is quite conservative and also realizes that she will not be wearing a burqa but would expect her to wear a khimar.

DIRECTIONS: Using 100 words or more please respond to one of the following post of questions.

Could there be an exception made for her to come to and from work?

Yes. If the Army can allow a Soldier from a foreign country to have a religious beard, wear hijabs and turbans, then I know a civilian agency can make an exception. “The Army has reviewed its policies to ensure we allow every opportunity for qualified soldiers to serve, regardless of their faith background” (Myers, 2017). I don’t see any problem with the agency updating their policy to allow Asalah to wear her cultural headdress to and from her car at the jail. I would think that this issue would have gotten worked out during the interview or before she was hired as an employee. There is a way to accommodate religious freedom and jail safety.

Knowing that she is Muslim, would this headscarf put her in any danger from the female inmates?

Asalah’s headscarf would pose a tremendous danger to her or one of the inmates. Just as shoelaces, belts, jewelry, or braids are not permitted because they could potentially be used to harm other inmates or themselves. Some jails and prisons have relaxed their policies to allow inmates to keep their headdress while incarcerated. In 2008, a Muslim woman sued Orange County in California, and “the county agreed to revise their policy and allow women to use a headscarf which would be provided by the county” (Hernandez, 2008). I don’t believe that Asalah wants to take her issue that far, but other Muslim women have set the new precedent if Asalah changed her mind.

The jail has offered to place her in the classification department if she wishes to wear the khimar, but would this be considered discrimination? Why or why not?

Yes, moving her to a different department would be considered discrimination. Workplace discrimination is defined as “negative treatment by an employer toward an employee or group of employees because of their protected class status” (HRC, 2010). This also includes being offered unfair terms and conditions of employment. Offering her an option to move to the classification department if she wishes to wear her khimar sounds like the agency is being passive-aggressive towards her. They are telling her that she can wear her cultural headdress, but it is on the agency’s terms. Illegal.

During her lunch hour, she wishes to go to the cafeteria to get some snacks, but she is not allowed to wear her khimar. This causes a problem because men are walking the halls and are in the cafeteria. What would be the reasoning that the jail administrators could give her for this procedure?

I would have to assume that the agency’s reason is that her khimar would be a safety hazard. Since she is still in the confines of the prison, her khimar could be used to harm an employee or other inmates.

What types of policies exist regarding cultural considerations such as this? Explain.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission publication lays out what is legal and illegal in the workplace. “This publication by the EEOC answers questions about how federal employment discrimination law applies to religious dress and grooming practices, and what steps employers can take to meet their legal responsibilities in this area” (EEOC, 2019).

I know Professor Newell hates block quotes, but this one is necessary to answer the question fully:

The EEOC publication describes examples of religious dress and grooming practices include wearing religious clothing or articles (e.g., a Muslim hijab (headscarf), a Sikh turban, or a Christian cross); observing a religious prohibition against wearing specific garments (e.g., a Muslim, Pentecostal Christian, or Orthodox Jewish woman’s practice of not wearing pants or short skirts), or adhering to shaving or hair length observances (e.g., Sikh uncut hair and beard, Rastafarian dreadlocks, or Jewish peyes (sidelocks)).

Do you feel that these policies are effective in their purpose? Explain.

I do believe that the EEOC’s publication is sufficient to answer any questions by employers on what is legal or illegal when it comes to religious dress and grooming practices of their employees. All Human Resource department employees should know these policies set forth by the EEOC. HR departments are the first line of defense to keep businesses from violating federal laws.

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