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“A job interview for Mo, but none for Mohammed”: Religious discrimination against immigrants in Austria and Germany

Ingo Forstenlechner (College of Business and Economics at United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)
Mohammed A. Al‐Waqfi (College of Business and Economics at United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 21 September 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine workplace discrimination in the context of immigrant employees and job seekers, with a specific focus on perceived discrimination resulting from affiliation with a specific religious group.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 40 Muslim immigrants in two host countries were interviewed regarding their perception of discrimination and the consequences for their workplace experience. For the analysis, responses were clustered to identify emerging themes using NVivo.

Findings

Results indicate that Muslim immigrants encounter treatment at the workplace that they perceive as discriminatory. On the other hand, findings show high levels of commitment where employees were not discriminated against – contrary to their almost inherent expectations that they would be.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the exploratory nature of this study, the results need to be treated with caution. The small sample size may limit the generalisability of findings. Also, it is possible that both religion and race/ethnicity are confounded in causing the reported incidents of perceived discrimination.

Practical implications

Beyond moral or ethical considerations, workplace discrimination has a negative impact on employee motivation and performance. Accommodation of basic religious needs can significantly improve commitment to the employer at virtually no cost.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors's knowledge there are a limited number of studies in previous literature looking at employment discrimination in the context of religious affiliation. There are very few studies addressing perceived workplace discrimination against Muslims.

Keywords

Citation

Forstenlechner, I. and Al‐Waqfi, M.A. (2010), "“A job interview for Mo, but none for Mohammed”: Religious discrimination against immigrants in Austria and Germany", Personnel Review, Vol. 39 No. 6, pp. 767-784. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483481011075602

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited