What is the basis for creating the different menus?
Herbert Tan, Esq.
The National Newark Building
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To answer your question, I am going to assume that you are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement (i.e., union represented) that defines you job description in a way that limits the number of menus that you can be assigned on a daily basis. Because if you are, and changing your scope of work is something that the CBA says must be negotiated, then you could grieve the directive on that basis.
That being said (i.e., you are the typical, at-will employee without an employment contract), you don't have a lawsuit. You should continue to perform as instructed, or else you risk being disciplined for insubordination. If it is a workload issue, i.e., it is just too much work to prepare and cook off such an expansive menu, then you could couch a complaint to management or HR in those terms - but, be careful about doing that, because you risk being viewed by managemet as lacking the depth of skills or ability to handle the job.
Certainly, you should not couch your complaint in a way that you object to serving Muslims, or Africian Americans, or white people - because you will be viewed as having illegal bias. Just because some of the populist or political rhetoric that you hear or see on TV may seem to encourage people to challenge efforts to include Muslims, or African Americans, does not mean that the civil rights laws have changed. Those laws remain in tact, and major corporations are well aware of that fact.
If you make this an issue with your employer as an objection to its diversity efforts, then you will likely find yourself out of a job. Major corporations will not tolerate that kind of stuff, especially from employees lower down the totem pole.
Major corporations have two key motivations for being inclusive: (1) Economic. They want to draw the best and brightest from our population, regardless of their national origin, religion or race, to enhance the capabilities of their work force. If the expansive menu in the cafeteria makes a Muslim or African American employee more content with their job, then it is more likely that they will stay and perform well. (2) Comply with state and federal anti-discrimination laws. They have to be vigilant to remove discriminatory obstacles from the work environment, or else they risk liability. If a cook identifies him or herself as being opposed to those two objectives, a major corporation is not going to waste time in brooming that person out of their job.
This was a good question, and it was good to ask an expert outside of your company, first, before blurting it out to your manager or HR.
Unless you have an employment contract, or you belong to a union with a contract with the company, you have to do what you are told, or you can legally be fired. If you hate cooking to meet the requirements of Muslims, or blacks, or whites, perhaps you ought to find a different line of work, or open your own restaurant where you would have control over the menu.
For what it is worth, I do not believe that the company has a different menu for each racial group. Instead, I suspect that the company has 3 menus, and each person being served can choose the menu he or she wants. The company wants to accommodate those with different eating customs, and that looks like smart business to me, not a legal violation at all.
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