Brooklyn, New York - A federal lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of New York by Scott, Mason-Kinsey, and Hart LLP on behalf of two Muslim employees of the New York City Transit Authority. Deirdre Small and Malikah Alkebulan, who are presently employed as bus operators for the Transit Authority, allege that their employer has violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by engaging in a continuous pattern of religious and gender discrimination dating back to March of 2002. Mrs. Small and Mrs. Alkebulan have been suspended from their duties because they refuse to remove or cover their traditional Muslim headdress ("khimar") with baseball caps while driving passengers.
Regarding the lawsuit, attorney Armani B. Scott stated" the MTA has refused to acknowledge our clients Muslim beliefs. This blatant discrimination is a dangerous and illegal overreaction which feeds into the worst fears of Americans in our post- 9/11 society." Attorney Lonnie Hart, Jr. added, "The MTA's position that our clients wear baseball hats to cover their khimars is not only an affront to Islam but has no legal or moral basis. The MTA has failed to cite any legitimate reason for their discriminatory practices."
The federal suit alleges that Mrs. Small and Mrs. Alkebulan have been singled out for discrimination because of their religion and gender. Similarly situated male Muslim bus drivers are currently operating Transit Authority buses while wearing traditional Muslim headdress ("kufi") without reprisal.
For more information contact: Lonnie Hart, Jr. or Armani B. Scott
Scott, Mason-Kinsey & Hart LLP
55 Washington Street Suite 655
Brooklyn, New York, 11201
(718) 852-7000 (p)
(718) 852-3302 (f)