A Muslim former employee of a Sears, Roebuck & Co. subsidiary alleged in a
federal lawsuit Tuesday that co-workers constantly referred to him as a
terrorist and used other derogatory terms.
Belal Degedeh, who is of Palestinian descent, alleged that when he
complained, a general manager at Sears Logistics Services in Manteno told
him that he "should get used to being treated differently," the suit
Chris Brathwaite, a spokesman for Hoffman Estates-based Sears, said the
company had not yet seen the lawsuit, but it disputed any allegations of
discrimination. Sears will defend itself, he said. Logistics Services is
Sears' supply and distribution unit.
Degedeh, 27, of Kankakee worked for little more than two months last year
before he was dismissed for tardiness--an allegation disputed by Degedeh.
He unloaded merchandise from trucks at a receiving dock.
Last October, within a couple of weeks after he started, co-workers
repeatedly called him "Bin Laden," "Taliban," "terrorist" and "crazy
Muslim," mocked his Middle Eastern accent, and asked if he was going to
bomb their workplace, the lawsuit alleged…
The lawsuit quoted the manager as telling Degedeh "that as a result of
9/11, and as a result of [Degedeh's] appearance and accent, [Degedeh]
should get used to being treated differently.