With war raging in Iraq, the latest national "America at Work" poll commissioned by the Employment Law Alliance shows that the majority of American workers do not believe the conflict poses a direct threat to their job security.
The poll, facilitated by the world's largest network of employment and labor attorneys, is believed to be the first US national survey in which workers were questioned on the impact of war on the workplace just a few days before the fighting erupted.
Of those polled by the research firm of Reed Haldy McIntosh & Associates, 84 percent said they are not worried about losing their job because of the war with Iraq. Of the nearly 1,000 Americans contacted by researchers, almost 40 percent said they personally know someone in their workplace who has been or is likely to be deployed.
81 percent do not think discrimination or harassment against Arab-Americans, Muslims, or other people of Middle Eastern descent has increased in the workplace since the threat of war; six percent said there has been an increase; nine percent said they don't have a strong opinion either way; and four percent either had no opinion or believed the question did not apply to their circumstances.
Mary Petersen, ELA's Washington state representative and a partner of Miller Nash LLP, noted that while a large majority of those interviewed did not think discrimination or harassment against Arab-Americans, Muslims, or other people of Middle Eastern descent has increased, employers should not be complacent about enforcing their anti-discrimination policies.
"According to reports published by the EEOC, religion and national origin are two of the fastest growing types of discrimination charges filed nationally with the EEOC," said Petersen. "Just last week, the EEOC announced the $1.11 million settlement of an employment discrimination lawsuit against Stockton Steel in which four workers had alleged harassment that included being ridiculed during their daily Muslim prayer obligations and derogatory name-calling such as 'camel jockey' and 'raghead.'”
“With heightened tensions from the situation in Iraq, employers should implement policy changes where appropriate, conduct training to prevent discrimination or harassment, and be certain that employees have an avenue to request an accommodation for sincere religious beliefs."
Some 84 percent are not worried about losing their job as a result of the war; six percent said they think they might lose their job; nine percent don't have a strong opinion either way; and one percent had no opinion.
A total of 89 percent believe they can openly express opinions about the war that are different from the view of their boss without facing retaliation. Only two percent thought a dissenting opinion would invite retaliation.
Of the people interviewed, 81 percent are not more worried about losing their jobs now than in the aftermath of September, 11, 2001; 10 percent said they were more worried about job loss now than after the terrorist attack; eight percent don't have a strong opinion either way; one percent had no opinion. 78 percent do not believe that workplace talk of the war would adversely affect productivity and efficiency.
“The positive notes in the survey include the fact that a strong majority of people are feeling safe enough to express their views about the war in the workplace without worrying about retaliation, and that sharing their views isn't affecting their ability to get the job done," said ELA's Oregon member Sharon Toncray, a partner of Miller Nash LLP. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )