Ill. hospital sued for post-9/11 firing of Muslim worker
The Chicago office of a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today announced the filing of a lawsuit against a hospital in a western suburb of that city for what it says was the discriminatory post-9/11 termination of a Muslim employee.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations – Chicago (CAIR-Chicago) says the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – Eastern Division, alleges that Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., fired the Muslim environmental services technician five days after the 9/11 attacks because hospital staff were “nervous” about his presence and “did not feel safe with him around.” (Good Samaritan Hospital is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ.)
The termination occurred following a meeting on September 16, 2001, in which the plaintiff was allegedly questioned about his national and ethnic origins and his views on the 9/11 attacks. After the meeting, security officers escorted him to his locker and then out to his car.
The plaintiff, who is a green card holder of Iraqi origin, filed a charge of religious and national origin discrimination with the EEOC in March of this year and received notice of his “right to sue” in September.
“Discriminatory treatment based on religion and ethic origin must never be tolerated. Good Samaritan Hospital needs to deal with this incident to ensure that it is not repeated,” said CAIR-Chicago board member Kamran Memon, the attorney who filed the lawsuit.
The plaintiff seeks reinstatement and back pay, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for emotional distress and inconvenience caused by the hospital’s discriminatory actions.
Last month, the FBI released its annual survey of hate crimes that showed an increase of more 1,600 percent in the number of bias-related incidents against American Muslims, Arabs or those perceived to be Middle Eastern.
SEE THE FBI REPORT AT: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/01hate.pdf