Muslim workers at Paris airport sue after fired for refusing to shave beards

An industrial tribunal will hear the case of four Muslim former security guards at Orly airport who say they were discriminated against when sacked for refusing to shave off their beards in the wake of the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

Soon after those jihadist attacks that left 130 dead, management from the Securitas security firm summoned several male staff members working for it at Orly, all of them Muslim and all of them bearded.

They were told that with passengers on edge, it would be appreciated if they could all trim or shave off their beards to adhere to the firm’s strict grooming policy.

Most of the men, who worked at the security points where passengers and their hand luggage are screened, complied, but four did not, and launched discrimination complaints.

Their case is to be heard at an industrial tribunal in Bobigny.

The men were suspended a week after refusing to shave and some months later received a letter telling them they were sacked. Securitas denies any discrimination, and argues that the ex-employees simply refused to adhere to company rules stating that facial hair needed to be kept short and well-groomed.

The tribunal hearing is likely to be dominated by arguments over what length of a beard is “acceptable” and whether a beard can be considered a religious symbol.

The European Court of Justice ruled in March that companies should be allowed to to ban their staff from wearing visible religious symbols.

Security was tightened at Orly airport in the wake of the November 13th attacks in Paris, with authorities screening all workers at the two Paris airports – Charles de Gaulle and Orly.They decided to revoke “secure zone access” to almost 70 workers, with the head of Aeroports de Paris citing the main reason as “cases of radicalization”.

 

Muslim Officer Sues New York Police Dept. Over No-Beard Policy

The department’s no-beard policy, as it is known, is at the center of a federal class-action lawsuit filed on Wednesday on behalf of a Muslim police officer who says he was suspended during the fasting month of Ramadan for refusing to shave his one-inch beard. The lawsuit, brought by Masood Syed, 32, aims to force the Police Department to change a policy that his lawyers say infringes on the rights of more than 100 officers seeking to exercise their religious freedoms without fear of discrimination or retaliation.
Officer Syed, a 10-year veteran assigned to the office that handles disciplinary proceedings against officers, was suspended without pay on Tuesday. At an emergency hearing on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Judge P. Kevin Castel ordered the department to continue paying Officer Syed until his next court date on July 8, when the court will decide whether he can return to work.
Officer Syed’s complaint cites a 2013 ruling in Federal District Court in favor of a Hasidic Jewish police officer who was fired during his probationary period for refusing to shave his beard. The officer, Fishel Litzman, was reinstated in 2014 and remains on the job.
The complaint also describes another 2013 case of Mohsin Aftab, a Muslim police officer who was suspended and ultimately agreed to leave the department after 10 years of service rather than shave his beard. Mr. Aftab, according to the complaint, has not been able to work in law enforcement since his departure, and his family has had to accept food stamps.

Is the Schilderswijk [district in the city of the Hague] not a caliphate?

Dutch newspaper Trouw has fired one of its employees for using non-existing sources when writing articles. The name of this journalist has yet to be confirmed, but other media write it’s Perdiep Ramesar.

One of his articles that caused a lot of commotion dates from May 18 2013: ‘If your neighbourhood changes into a caliphate.’ He wrote about a part of the Schilderswijk with a so-called enclave of orthodox Muslims, where smoking, alcohol and short skirts were said to be prohibited.

The article caused a lot of commotion and some politicians decided themselves to take a look in this neighbourhood. Geert Wilders, from the rightwing party Party for the Freedom (PVV) said he didn’t feel like he was in the Netherlands, while walking there.

There were however also some doubts about the article among Muslims themselves. The article played a great role in the (already) negative image of the neighbourhood, and also its stigmatization, as complained by Adri Duivesteijn, former councillor in the Schilderswijk.

Minister of Social Affairs and Safety Asscher also visited the neighbourhood and said he didnt’t recognize himself in what the article wrote.

Muslim who says she was fired for refusing flu shot sues Children’s Hospital Boston

February 4, 2014

 

A former Children’s Hospital Boston employee who said she was fired because her Islamic beliefs prohibited her from getting a mandatory flu shot sued the hospital today.

Leontine Robinson says in her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston that her civil rights were violated because the hospital “intentionally discriminated against (her) due to her religious beliefs.” Some Muslims refuse flu shots because they contain a small amount of pork gelatine — a violation, the abstainers contend, of restrictions on consuming pork products.

Robinson, according to her complaint, worked in patient care at Children’s for about a year before a flu shot requirement was instituted in 2006. Hospital managers had known she was a Muslim when they hired her, the suit suggests, noting that she wore a traditional Muslim head-covering for women.

 

Boston Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2014/02/04/muslim-who-says-she-was-fired-for.html

CAIR-Cincinnati to Announce EEOC Complaints Against DHL for Firing 24 Muslim Workers Over Prayers

November 7, 2013

 

Later today, the Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cincinnati) will hold a news conference to announce the filing of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) civil rights complaint on behalf of 24 former workers at the DHL Global Mail facility in Hebron, Ky., who were fired for exercising their legally protected religious rights.

CAIR-Cincinnati says the DHL workers were dismissed from their jobs for asserting their right to reasonable accommodation for their religious practices, including daily prayer.

“CAIR has informed the company of its obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate these workers’ religious practices,” said CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub. “Instead of abiding by the law and doing the right thing, DHL has decided to stand behind their violation of these workers’ civil rights.”

Background:

On October 9, DHL Global Mail fired a group of 24 workers, some of whom had been working at DHL for up to 6 years, for refusing to accept a new workplace rule that violated their rights under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
In this case, the DHL workers had been using their break time to perform the evening (Maghrib) prayer. The company reportedly decided to eliminate flexible break times, thereby preventing the men and women from practicing their faith. When the workers asserted their legal rights, they were all fired.

Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12243-cair-cincinnati-to-announce-eeoc-complaints-against-dhl-for-firing-24-muslim-workers-over-prayers.html

Washington state man fired over religious beard wins court fight

October 10, 2013

A Seattle-area Muslim man who said his former employer fired him because of the beard he wears for religious reason has been awarded more than $66,000, although most of that will go to attorney fees.

Abdulkadir Omar said he doesn’t care about the money.

“It’s not even about the money,” he said. “It’s about standing up for something you believe in.”

In 2011, Omar filed his federal lawsuit in Seattle against Sacramento, Calif.-based American Patriot Security, seeking back pay and unspecified damages for emotional pain and loss of enjoyment of life, among other reasons.

According to the lawsuit, Omar was hired by a local manager of the security company in May 2009 and earned $9 an hour guarding a FedEx warehouse in Kent, Wash. He said he started the same day he was hired, and was not told about the clean-shaven policy.

In November 2009, a supervisor from headquarters told him he had to shave his beard because of the policy. Omar refused, saying his beard is part of his religious beliefs. He was suspended, and fired the following spring, the lawsuit said.

Born in Yemen, Omar said he immigrated to the United States when he was 10.

“I grew up in this country, I’ve been living here all of my life. Just like everybody else, I’m an American,” he said.

The default judgment says that more than $50,000 of the $66,000 award is for attorney fees, while most of the rest goes to Omar, who said he was unemployed for nine months after being dismissed by American Patriot.

Omar sued the security firm with the help of the Washington chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations.

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/washington-state-man-fired-over-religious-beard-wins-court-fight/2013/10/10/39279faa-31d0-11e3-ad00-ec4c6b31cbed_story.html

Storm Erupts in Reaction to the Care-Giver Veil Case: Sparks fly between the League and Pd (Democratic Party)

Arese – Tatiana Rotar was fired because she wore a headscarf. Starting October 1 the legal dispute will likely bring together Tatiana Rotar, the 26 year old Ukrainian domestic helper who converted to Islam two months ago and her former employers. The case has divided the town of Varese.

 

Among the two sides are those who understand the family’s choice to fired Rotar (the young woman claims she was fired for her choice to wear the veil) and those who condemn the choice.

 

“There is a law that prohibits dismissal for religious reasons” says Sandy Cane, mayor of Viggiù, a black American and a party member of the Northern League “But you have to see how her religious choice would affect her work. And we need to see where this choice comes from. It was converted after meeting her Muslim boyfriend. I already take that as a sign of weakness. Many could presume that this woman was greatly influenced. She did after all, convert after meeting her Muslim boyfriend.“

 

Cane does not think this is racist: “I do not think that the dismissal after she wore the veil comes from racism. I believe comes from an understandable concern. As Islam today is not associated with peaceful images or scenarios.”

 

This is a Civil Rights issue says Stefano El- fennèe a Moroccan Muslim and spokesman for the Pd Luvinate. “It is unfair and I think that this girl will be shown this by our judicial system” he says “the system must evaluate the work of a person, not his/her religious faith. In this case there is not an objective reason for her dismissal rather it is subjective. Does a nun fulfill her mission any less because she wears a veil? And again, is it better to have a caregiver who is beautiful and wears a short skirt but treats her patients terribly or a caregiver with the veil that instead takes good care of persons in her charge?”

A Muslim Caregiver Fired Because of Her Veil

September 18, 2013

 

“Lose the veil or you are fired.” This was part of an incident reported by Tatiana Rotar, a 26 year old Ukrainian domestic worker, who was accompanied by her partner, Ashraf Gouda, an Egyptian, and owner of a food Import & Export, and resident of Malnate where he served as an Sos volunteer.

“It happened about ten days ago” says Tatiana “For two years I was working as a maid and nanny for a wealthy family of Varese. At one point my employer called me and told me that I was fired. The reason? I put the veil on to cover my head after I converted to Islam.”

From the Orthodox Christian religion to Islam: Tatiana says: “Until a month ago there were never any problems. They had never complained. Today they accuse my partner, and indicate that he has forced me to wear the veil. It this not this racism?”

The couple turned to a union to report the incident. The union has agreed to take the case. Marco Molinari the representative from the trade union CISL (the largest confederation of trade unions) said “We have picked up the case and we have already informed our legal department. Before proceeding with the dispute, that is submit for an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal, we will have to wait until she is handed a letter of dismissal. Only then can we start the legal process.”

Wal-Mart fires employee at western NY store over Facebook posting criticizing Muslim customers


HAMBURG, N.Y. — Wal-Mart has fired an employee of a western New York store after he posted derogatory comments about Muslim customers on Facebook.

The firing follows a request by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Wal-Mart to discipline the assistant manager of the store in Hamburg, a suburb of Buffalo.

Terry Earsing, then an assistant manager, posted a photo of two women in traditional dress as they shopped at his Buffalo-area store and wrote profanity-laced criticisms beneath it. Earsing has apologized for what he calls a joke.

Along with a picture of Muslim women in traditional dress, the manager’s expletive-filled posting read: “Halloween came early this year. … Do they really have to … dress like that.”

A spokeswoman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says company officials looked into the posting immediately upon learning about it and fired the employee.

 

A member of the local Muslim community spotted the comment and informed the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which in turn alerted Walmart executives.

 

Abercrombie Struggling To Prove Fired Woman’s Hijab Hurt Sales: Report

Abercrombie & Fitch is having a hard time proving in court that the Muslim headscarf worn by an employee who was fired in 2010 hurt the clothing company’s sales, Law360 reports.

On Tuesday, when a federal judge in California pressed attorney Mark Knueve, who is representing Abercrombie, if he or any of his witnesses had financial records to show the woman’s hijab hurt sales, Knueve said he didn’t.

“A defendant says we’re harmed but provides no real evidence?” Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers retorted, according to the report. “And you want me to grant summary judgment [in your favor]?”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) originally sued Abercrombie in 2011 on behalf of Hani Khan, the Muslim woman who says she was fired from a Hollister store in a California mall in 2010 because she wore a hijab to work. (Abercrombie owns Hollister.)

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Khan was wearing the religious garment when she interviewed for the job in October 2009 and during the first four months she worked at the San Mateo, Calif., clothing store.

Yet in February 2010, when a visiting district manager saw her wearing it and spoke with one of the store’s human resources employees, they decided the headscarf violated the store’s controversial “Look Policy,” which critics have said is usually interpreted to mean white, muscular and thin.

On Wednesday, Abercrombie spokesman Mackenzie Bruce told The Huffington Post the company does not discriminate based on religion and that it grants religious accommodations, including for hijabs, when such accommodations are considered “reasonable.”

This isn’t the first time Abercrombie has been in trouble over this issue. In 2009 the clothing store was found guilty of discrimination and ordered to pay $20,000 to a 19-year-old Muslim college student who was refused a job because her hijab violated the store’s “Look Policy.”