Press Releases

CAIR: Wash. State Muslim Claims Bias in Firing

(SEATTLE, WA, 5/20/10) — The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) today announced that it assisted a Muslim security guard in filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against Guardsmark.
CAIR-WA said the complainant alleges workplace harassment based on his religion and national origin, and retaliatory termination based on his complaints to superiors.
The Muslim guard reported to CAIR-WA that two coworkers began to call him disparaging names in front of other coworkers in his absence. This harassment reportedly occurred after co-workers saw the Muslim guard pray, and saw his Quran and prayer rug.
Another co-worker who heard this religiously-charged commentary complained to supervisors on the Muslim guard’s behalf. After this, the two co-workers allegedly treated the Muslim man with disrespect and yelled at him. The co-worker who reported the taunts to superiors was then allegedly threatened by the two who had been reported. He also informed the Muslim guard that he was being continually disparaged in this absence, including calling him “a f***ing terrorist.”
The Muslim guard allegedly received promises from two different supervisors that his complaints against the two men would be investigated, but there was no apparent action that resulted.
“We urge Guardsmark to take immediate action to resolve this case,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari.
Bukhari said there appears to be an increasing trend in employment discrimination complaints being received by CAIR’s Washington state office, which accentuates the need for employers to educate their employees in managing diversity and improve communications and relationships.
“We offer three-step diversity training solutions that are tailored to the organization’s specific logistics and employee needs. These solutions support employees to maximize internal (peer) and external (client) relationships in an appreciative, non-threatening, and sustainable way. Engaging in all three steps significantly enhances an organization’s ability to retain and use this material.”
SEE: CAIR-WA’s Diversity Training Center

Bukhari said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing and other terms and conditions of employment. The act also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee, unless doing so would create an “undue hardship” for the employer.
In 2008, the EEOC issued new guidelines on accommodating religious beliefs and practices in the workplace. The guidelines offer protection for workers who wear religious attire such as hijab.
SEE: New Religious Discrimination Manual Released (USA Today)

CAIR offers a booklet called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


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