EEOC sides with Muslim workers in CA and IL

EEOC sides with Muslim workers in CA and IL

Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), CAIR announced today that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued "determinations" that Muslim workers in California and Illinois faced discrimination because of their religion or ethnicity.

CAIR says the first case involves a Muslim pilot who was fired following the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Missouri-based Trans States Airlines. According to the EEOC determination, the airlines "violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964…by terminating the Charging Party, on the basis of his religion, race and national origin." (CAIR worked with the Muslim employee and with the EEOC on the case.)

The Muslim pilot, a native of Fiji who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, was fired based on anonymous accusations of impropriety and a call from a person claiming to be with the FBI seeking an interview with the worker. EEOC District Director Lynn Bruner determined that:

"The evidence reveals that no investigation was undertaken to verify [the allegation of impropriety]. Respondent admits that it did not inform Charging Party of the allegations against him or ask for Charging Party's response to the accusations…Respondent took no action to determine that the telephone call was in fact from the FBI and did not know the reason why the caller wished to interview Charging Party."

In the second case, a Muslim woman employed by the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) was denied the right to wear a religiously-mandated Islamic head scarf and then allegedly harassed because of her request for religious accommodation. In his determination, EEOC District Director John P. Rowe said: "…evidence obtained in the investigation establishes reasonable cause to believe that Respondent discriminated against Charging Party on the basis of her religion, Islam…"

Just weeks before the discriminatory events took place at the JTDC, the Cook County Sheriff's Department agreed to permit a Muslim and a Jewish deputy to wear religious head coverings while on the job. That decision came after concerned Muslims from across America contacted the sheriff's office to request reasonable religious accommodation for the two officers.

"We appreciate the EEOC's efforts on behalf of these Muslim employees and encourage all those who face workplace discrimination to speak out and defend their rights," said CAIR Civil Rights Consultant Hassan Mirza.

Mirza said CAIR publishes a booklet, called "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to prevent religious discrimination in the workplace. The booklet is available for $3 by e-mailing: publications@cair-net.org.


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