Press Releases

CAIR Files Religious Discrimination Complaint Against S&D Coffee, Inc. on Behalf of North Carolina Muslim Employee

(WASHINGTON, DC, 7/24/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the filing of a religious discrimination and retaliation complaint against S&D Coffee, Inc. on behalf of a male American Muslim employee of Iraqi national origin in North Carolina who was allegedly harassed and retaliated against on the basis of religion, national origin and other protected classes.  

According to the complaint, S&D Coffee was notified of but failed to stop a hostile work environment at its workplace. S&D Coffee employees harassed the Muslim employee by referring to him as a “sand n*****,” asking whether he was “Arabian” or “ISIS,” and interrogating him about his religious beliefs and whether he was Muslim or Jewish.

One S&D Coffee supervisor reportedly sexually harassed the employee on numerous occasions. He reported the inappropriate behavior and requested to transfer to another department. Not only did S&D Coffee not take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment, the company allegedly retaliated against the employee, forcing him to resign.

CAIR Legal Defense Fund is representing the Muslim employee in his EEOC discrimination complaint claiming employment discrimination and retaliation on the basis of religion, national origin and other protected classes.

“S&D Coffee, Inc. owes a duty to its employees to cultivate a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment in every form. A workplace that cannot facilitate these basic teachings of humaneness and professionalism are wholly unacceptable. The Muslim employee’s repeated complaints of harassment should have been addressed, and yet S&D Coffee, Inc.’s blatant refusal to improve these conditions are plainly wrong,” said Zanah Ghalawanji, CAIR staff attorney.

She said 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.

CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.

CAIR: An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

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.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Staff Attorney Zanah Ghalawanji, 202-516-4733,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


Share on facebook
Share on twitter