GA Muslim police officer files discrimination suit
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced that a Muslim police officer has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city of Decatur, Ga., over allegations of racial and religious harassment.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, claims the Muslim officer faced harassment “almost immediately from his start of work.” (The plaintiff is of Mauritian heritage, but was apparently perceived to be Arab or Iranian by co-workers.)
According to papers filed with the court:
“[The officer’s] supervisors and co-workers persistently hurled racial epithets at him, calling him ‘Taliban’ and shouting at him, ‘that’s what you get for bombing us, you damn Taliban!’”¦Plaintiff’s supervisor, superimposed [the officer’s] picture onto a ‘Seeking Information’ of a Saudi national”¦suspected to be associated with the September 11, 2001 bombing”¦The poster with [the officer’s] name and face superimposed over that of [the wanted Saudi national] was placed in the break room for the entire police force to see”¦At roll call, while both shifts were present, [the supervisor] passed out to each employee the flyer he had prepared.”
In September 2002, the Muslim officer filed a formal grievance and was placed on administrative leave. He later resigned from the force after concluding his complaint was not being taken seriously.
According to the lawsuit: “The City of Decatur continued to insist that the”¦remarks were made in good-natured fun, were not intended to be discriminatory and were only teasing that [the officer] should expect from the Decatur Police.”
The lawsuit alleges that the City of Decatur and its employees failed to provide the plaintiff with a safe work environment and intentionally inflicted emotional distress. It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
“Any officer of the law should be treated with utmost respect, particularly by his colleagues and supervisors,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. Hooper said workplace discrimination is one of the largest categories of discrimination cases CAIR deals with. He added that CAIR publishes a booklet called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices.” (The booklet is available by e-mailing email@example.com.)
In March, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the $1.11 million settlement of a harassment lawsuit against a California steel company over workplace harassment of Pakistani-American employees.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 26 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.