Radio Station WXKW recently pulled two popular radio hosts off the air after they made controversial remarks about New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. Judi Franco and Dennis Malloy hosted the “Dennis & Judi Show” show on WXKW (also known as NJ 101.5) for two decades, and they have been suspended indefinitely, without pay.
During their on-air broadcast Malloy told Franco that he could not remember the Attorney General’s name, and afterwards referred to Grewal as “Turban Man.” The hosts later admitted that the comments were offensive, and sent the Attorney General an apology. WXKW also apologized for the pair’s comments. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated that he was outraged by what was said, which he referred to as hate speech. Murphy went on to state that WXKW must hold Malloy and Franco accountable for their remarks.
Why Was Grewal Targeted?
In July, Grewal requested that NJ prosecutors postpone all marijuana offenses that were pending in municipal court until September or later. Although there will still be marijuana-related arrests, some feel that the postponement could pave the way towards legalization.
Grewal is the first attorney general in this country that is of Sikh heritage. These facts may have led Franco and Malloy to make the statements which led to their dismissal.
Religious Workplace Discrimination
Although the NJ Attorney General is not employed at NJ 101.5, Franco and Malloy’s discussion could have been interpreted as racist or religious discrimination if any of their employees came from similar backgrounds as Grewal. The laws in this country are clear: Treating an employee unfavorably in the workplace because of their race or their religious beliefs counts as discrimination, and is illegal. This applies to company promotions, benefits, pay, layoffs, training, hiring, and firing.
The law also covers workplace harassment for race and religious beliefs. This applies to serious, offensive comments that lead to the victim losing their job. It also is illegal when it leads to an offensive or hostile work environment. The guilty party can be a co-worker, supervisor, or even a customer.
Religious Accommodations in the Workplace
Employers must accommodate a worker’s religious beliefs and practices, as long as they are within reason. For example, wearing head coverings like headscarves and Jewish yarmulkes cannot be prohibited at work. Having certain styles of hair and clothing that are part of religious observances are also protected by this law. If this does not impose undue hardship on the employer, it must be permitted.
Undue Hardship for the Employer
If an employee’s religious beliefs cause the employer undue hardship, making the accommodations can come into question. Hardships might include adversely affecting workplace safety, decreasing workplace production, if it affects other employees’ rights, or forces other workers to have additional burdensome or hazardous work to complete.
Middletown Discrimination Lawyers McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Fight for Victims of Hostile Work Environments
No one should ever have to work in a hostile work environment. If you or someone you care for has experienced workplace discrimination, reach out to the dedicated Middletown discrimination lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.