Ramadan & the Workplace: Supporting Muslim Workers and Those Who Celebrate

Shafuq Naseem, Author

Though Ramadan is coming to a close this week, we wanted to take the time to discuss ways that employers can support Muslim workers now and in the future. Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam and a period of time during the calendar year for around 30 days. During this time Muslims do not eat or drink. This year, Ramadan takes place starting on March 22nd and ends April 20th. Ramadan is more than abstaining from eating or drinking – it is a time of immense spiritual practice and reflection. 

Muslim employees can still do their jobs and they should not be excluded from tasks or assignments because of the assumption that they cannot due to fasting obligations. Some employers may not be aware of Ramadan or how to be supportive of employees during this time and in the future. Because of this, we’re sharing five ways to support Muslim employees during Ramadan:

  1. Don’t make assumptions on who is or isn’t fasting or why they aren’t fasting. There are many reasons why someone who identifies as Muslim may not be fasting. 
  2. Flexibility with meeting times. Many people may have more energy in different parts of the day. Employers should be empathetic and understanding of varying energy levels 
  3. Some employers may consider creating faith-based resource groups. 
  4. Encourage respectful celebration of the holiday with co-workers (e.g. iftar with co-workers). 
  5. More inclusive and open PTO policy. Following Ramadan is the celebration of Eid and many may make requests for time off. 

Additional Resources:

Author Bio: Shafuq Naseem is a Workplace Fairness intern and soon to be graduate of George Mason University with a degree in Government and International Politics. Her personal, professional, and academic experience with labor and employment issues fuels her passion for workers’ rights.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.