CAIR Files Religious Discrimination and Hostile Workplace Complaints Against AARP and ARCH on Behalf of Muslim Employees

(WASHINGTON, DC, 10/23/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the filing of two religious discrimination and hostile workplace environment complaints against the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Accounts Receivable Clearing House (ARCH) on behalf of two female American Muslims. 

According to the complaints, AARP and ARCH were notified of but failed to stop hostile work environments at their respective workplaces. Both employees were reportedly subjected to ridicule and screaming by co-workers and supervisors targeting the Muslim workers for their religious practices and national origin. 

Conduct directed at the complainants included insults, profanities and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab negative stereotypes. When both Complainants notified their supervisors and management, neither employer took steps to stop the hostile work environment. Instead, both allegedly faced retaliation from management and supervisors in the form of public humiliation and insults such as being told to “shut her mouth” or being referred to as an “Arab Grinch,” a “clown,” and a “war person.”

The AARP complainant was fired shortly after filing a formal internal grievance. The ARCH complainant suffered increased anxiety and multiple panic attacks in addition to severe neck and shoulder pain. The ARCH complainant was forced to quit her employment in April 2018. 

CAIR Legal Defense Fund is representing both complainants in their EEOC and respective state discrimination complaints claiming employment discrimination, hostile workplace environment and retaliation on the basis of religion, national origin and other protected statuses.

“CAIR is committed to ensuring that all employees are provided a work environment free from unlawful harassment,” said CAIR Civil Rights Litigation Fellow Zanah Ghalawanji. “People of all religions and nationalities are entitled to go to work and do their jobs without fear of harassment. Both employers had an obligation to stop the harassment and failed to do so.”   

Earlier this year, CAIR filed an employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a American Muslim in Virginia who was fired for wearing her hijab in accordance with her sincerely-held religious beliefs. 

CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

The Washington-based organization’s recently-released 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period.

Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by going to: https://www.cair.com/report

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784, lmasri@cair.com; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, gabbas@cair.com; CAIR Trial Attorney Ahmed Mohamed, 202-742-6440, amohamed@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

 


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  • Jay Newlin
    commented 2018-10-24 08:33:52 -0400
    As a white, middle-aged man who is of AARP age, please let me (and others) know how we best help. Shall we complain to AARP (who considers us members or at least their “target population”), or are there other actions in which we might engage?