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CAIR Files Discrimination Complaint Against North Carolina Prison on Behalf of Muslim Employee

(WASHINGTON, DC, 6/25/18) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the filing of a federal and state employment discrimination and retaliation complaint in North Carolina against the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) on behalf of Keith Hyman, an African-American Muslim targeted for requesting a religious accommodation from NCDPS’ facial grooming policy.

When he was hired in September 2017, Hyman requested a religious accommodation to maintain his beard at approximately 2 or 3 inches. NCDPS granted Hyman’s request by allowing him to maintain his beard for eight months. After NCDPS hired its new Superintendent, Hyman submitted his religious accommodation request for a second time, out of abundance of caution.  

On May 17, 2018, NCDPS formally rejected Hyman’s religious accommodation requests and instituted disciplinary proceedings to punish him for making the accommodation request and for refusing to shave in violation of his sincerely-held religious beliefs. 

During the disciplinary investigation, the NCDPS lieutenant in charge of the investigation attacked Hyman as “a street nigga that just turned Muslim” and informed him that since he requested a religious accommodation and “put himself out there” that he would be fired for insubordination.

Read CAIR’s Employment Discrimination Complaint:

“All Americans deserve the right to request religious accommodations without fear of retaliation,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri. “NCDPS’s blatant disregard for clearly-established federal law is disturbing and should not be tolerated in our society. We intend to defend our client’s rights to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Our employment laws are designed to prevent employers from mistreating employees. Mr. Hyman followed the law and requested a religious accommodation. In turn, NCDPS engaged in racist, bigoted action and has set up Mr. Hyman to be fired for simply requesting a religious accommodation,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Ahmed Mohamed.  

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:

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,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR Trial Attorney Ahmed Mohamed, 202-742-6440,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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