Newly-arrived immigrant fired from first U.S. job, forced to pray outdoors in middle of winter
(NEW YORK, NY, 3/22/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, and Lloyd Patel LLP, a leading employee-side labor and employment firm, today announced a $50,000 settlement with a Queens company for wrongfully terminating a Muslim man.
The 29-year-old South Asian green card holder, who prefers to remain anonymous, was wrongfully fired in 2017 simply for asking to pray. As a newly-arrived immigrant, this was the man’s first job in the United States, but he worked less than a week before being terminated.
The man’s supervisor reacted negatively to the revelation he was Muslim and became increasingly hostile once they learned about his faith. In his short time at the company, the man’s supervisor reportedly began to target him, sabotaging his work assignments and making derogatory statements about his faith.
This same supervisor refused to let him spend a few minutes a day praying in an empty part of the office, forcing him to pray in a nearby park in the dead of winter. In addition to providing compensation for lost wages and emotional damages, the employer is also required to conduct non-discrimination training for both management and employees.
“No New Yorker should be forced into the cold, or fired from work, simply for wanting to pray,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “Our laws are clear: New Yorkers have the right to reasonable accommodations to practice their faith. You don’t have to choose between your religion and your job. This settlement helps send a signal to employers that Muslim New Yorkers will not accept workplace discrimination or harassment. Our laws protect the right to take reasonable breaks, to pray, to wear the hijab, and to keep a beard.”
“Our client made the difficult and courageous decision to take a stand against unlawful religious discrimination by taking legal action, and we could not be more proud to have represented him,” said Lloyd Patel LLP Partner Erin Lloyd. “We are pleased with the monetary award for our client and that future employees at this company will be made aware of their legal rights and protections.”
(SACRAMENTO, CA, 3/21/18) - The Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization, today demanded accountability following the police shooting of an unarmed African-American man in South Sacramento.
Stephon Clark, 22, was killed after being confronted by officers in the backyard of his grandparents' home where he lived. Officers fired 20 shots at Clark, who police say they had believed was armed at the time. However, no gun or weapon was found at the scene and Mr. Clark was only found to be in possession of a cell phone. Although Clark's grandparents were both home at the time he was killed, neither was made aware that their grandson had been killed right outside their home until several hours after the incident occurred.
In a statement, CAIR-SV Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem said:
"There must be a thorough investigation into what happened to Stephon Clark and what led to this young man being killed in his own backyard. We have seen too often the deaths of unarmed African-American boys and men as a result of police-involved shootings."
"We urgently support the release of all video footage related to Mr. Clark's shooting in hopes that it will lead to full transparency and accountability."
CAIR-SV has called for similar investigations of other incidents nationwide involving allegations of disparate treatment of African Americans by law enforcement authorities.
(BOSTON, MA, 03/21/18) - On Sunday, April 8, more than 20 mosques across Massachusetts will take part in the second annual “Open Mosque Day” to provide an opportunity for the wider public to meet their Muslim neighbors.
Attendees will have the opportunity to tour a mosque, hear a brief introduction to Islam and observe a Muslim prayer service.
“In this time of widespread misunderstanding about Islam, we hope to show our communities that their Muslim neighbors live, pray and dream just like anyone else,” said Wafaa Wahabi of the American Islamic Center in Everett, Mass. “We’re proud to open our doors, on this day and every day.”
WHEN: Sunday, April 8th, from 3-6 p.m.
WHERE: See attached flyer for a full listing of participating mosques.
(BALTIMORE, MD, 3/21/18) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a pattern of racist incidents and religious slurs at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, Md.
That school’s Principal Stephen Gorski wrote in a letter to parents that racial, ethnic and religious slurs and symbols were discovered last week scrawled on a toilet seat inside a boys’ bathroom. Last Friday, racial slurs were also discovered carved into a classroom doorway.
The school, located in Anne Arundel County, has long been plagued with allegations of racial and religious intolerance. African-American resource officers have been placed at the school to help minority students feel safe.
This month, a spokesperson for Arundel County Public Schools announced that a teacher retired after allegedly using the n-word in the presence of a Black student.
One suspect is in custody in one of the incidents and charges are pending.
“We condemn this alarming pattern of bigotry and stand in solidarity with the NAACP’s Anne Arundel Chapter, the Caucus of African-American Leaders and local clergy and allies to support impacted students,” said CAIR’s Maryland representative Zainab Chaudry.
She noted that these incidents are only the most recent examples of intolerant attitudes observed in Maryland public schools.