The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Merrill Lynch on Tuesday over its treatment of an Iranian Muslim employee.

The worker, Majid Borumand, claims he was denied promotions and ultimately fired because of his ethnicity and faith.

A Merrill Lynch spokesman did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.

Borumand worked as an analyst in Merrill Lynch’s global markets and investment banking model development group. He was initially hired in 2002 under an immigration program that allows U.S. firms to recruit talented foreigners; Borumand has a doctorate in theoretical physics and a masters in mathematical finance.

While employed at the company, Borumand was subjected to “remarks that reflected animus toward his national origin and religion,” the EEOC said in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The EEOC said that on one occasion, Borumand was told that “the reason you are not allowed on the trading floor is because you are from a country which has a high risk factor and a threat.”


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