Taking a Stand against Antisemitism - What Can Employers Do?

Date   Dec 8, 2022

It is no secret that antisemitism is on the rise throughout the United States. The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL’s) 2021 Survey on Jewish Americans’ Experience with Antisemitism found that in the last five years, 63 percent of Jewish people either experienced or witnessed an antisemitic event. Further, the ADL reports that antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the U.S. in 2021, with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported – an average of more than seven incidents per day and a 34 percent increase year over year. See “Antisemitism in the US,” available at The problem has grabbed recent media attention, with celebrities making headlines for their antisemitic rants. The EEOC has also taken notice of the rise of violence, harassment, and acts of bias towards Jewish individuals, and, in 2021, unanimously approved a resolution condemning antisemitism in all forms.  See “Resolution of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Condemning Violence, Harassment, and Bias Against Jewish Persons in the United States | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (”

Antisemitism has also infiltrated the workplace. This November, conducted a survey of 1,131 U.S. hiring managers and recruiters about their feelings towards Jewish employees. The results were shocking. Although results vary by many demographic variables, some key takeaways include:

  • 26 percent of hiring managers say they are less likely to move forward with Jewish applicants;
  • 23 percent say they want fewer Jewish employees in their industry;
  • 12 percent say leadership told them to not hire Jewish people;
  • 17 percent say antisemitism is very common in their workplace while 12 percent say antisemitism is common;
  • 21 percent say they have caught themselves viewing a Jewish applicant with negative bias.

This survey shows that stereotypes clearly influence hiring decisions. For example, about 26 percent of those who responded relied on an applicant’s appearance to determine if he or she was Jewish, and over 32 percent determined Jewishness by the applicant’s last name. Others stated they knew the applicant was Jewish because he or she appeared “very frugal,” based on his or her “voice,” and because of the applicant’s “mannerisms.” In the survey, hiring managers and recruiters cited “too much wealth,” “too much power and control,” the Jewish claim as the “chosen people,” and that Jewish individuals are “greedy” as the top reasons they are less likely to move forward with Jewish applicants and why they believe there should be fewer Jewish people in their industries.

Full results of this survey can be found here:

While Title VII and state laws clearly prohibit discrimination and harassment based on religion (and ethnicity and race), and employers are required to accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs, antisemitism is rarely a focus of employer policies, procedures and trainings. Surveys such as this clearly show that more needs to be done by employers to raise awareness about antisemitism and its impact on Jewish employees and the workplace as a whole. 

How can employers accomplish this? Some ideas include:

  1. Company leaders should speak out, when appropriate, to condemn antisemitism and support Jewish employees. Speak out against hate crimes in your community. Ensure leadership reassures Jewish employees that they are safe.
  2. Understand the impact time away from work to celebrate the Sabbath and the Jewish holidays has on your Jewish employees. Determine ways that Jewish employees are not penalized for time away from the workplace to practice their religion and culture. Ensure that important meetings and events are not scheduled on the Sabbath or the Jewish holidays. Modify paid time off policies to allow Jewish employees to easily take time off for religious observance.
  3. Review your Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives in light of your Jewish employees. Educate managers about Jewish stereotypes and how they can be harmful. Form an employee resource group for your Jewish employees to help address these issues. Educate employees about Jewish culture, traditions, and religion.
  4. Review your policies and procedures, including dress codes, to ensure they do not marginalize Jewish employees.
  5. Revise your company’s EEO policy to specifically prohibit antisemitism in the workplace, not just religious discrimination generally. Specifically prohibit all antisemitic conduct, including epithets and describing Jewish people using stereotypes, and prohibit symbols, such as swastikas, that represent antisemitic views.
  6. Revise your regular EEO training to specifically include the prohibition of discrimination against and harassment of Jewish people. Training should include how Jewish stereotypes are harmful and should specifically state that antisemitism will not be tolerated.
  7. Train your supervisors, recruiters, and human resources department on how to recognize and address antisemitism in the workplace, including not so obvious macroaggressions.
  8. Consider providing Kosher meals for meetings and events where you know observant Jewish people will be in attendance.
  9. Encourage Jewish employees to come forward with complaints about antisemitism they experience in the workplace. Ensure them that they will not suffer retaliation as a result. Immediately investigate all claims and complaints of antisemitism and take prompt remedial action when appropriate.
  10. Ask questions! Inquire about religious observances, traditions and customs that you do not understand. Most Jewish people will be happy to provide an explanation.

If you have any questions regarding this Alert, please contact the authors, Johanna G. Zelman, partner in our Hartford and New York City offices at or Rachel Z. Ullrich, partner in our Dallas office at  

For information about FordHarrison’s diversity, equity and inclusion training resources or implementing diversity, equity and inclusion programs and initiatives in your workplace, please contact the Alert’s authors or any member of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practice group.