New employee mocked for religious beliefs, fired during training period

Though Adnan patiently tried to explain his religious beliefs, the supervisor, Karen [1], began to make fun of Adnan at work from that day onward. On one occasion, Karen looked up insulting words in Arabic (which is actually not Adnan’s primary language) and began calling him names like “hardheaded” and “baby”.

Adnan wanted Karen to understand him and his religious practices, and patiently explained Islam to her. Because Adnan was still in his training period at work, he was fearful of retaliation that may follow if he reported his supervisor’s harassment.

After a couple weeks of training, Adnan was terminated for “driving in an unsafe manner”. Adnan had never been in an accident and had only one near-miss during training while a different supervisor was in the car. At that time, the supervisor had encouraged him that it was fine because it was his first day driving.

Adnan was angered by the termination notice but at the same time, he was not surprised. He felt like his supervisor had been trying to make his job difficult for him since his first day.

After Adnan reported the case to CAIR-WA, we sent a complaint letter to his employer on his behalf asking for an explanation of his termination, for reinstatement of employment, and for appropriate disciplinary action and training provided for Karen.

Click here to read the letter sent by CAIR-WA to Adnan’s employer (names and other information in the letter have been changed or removed for privacy)

CAIR-WA also provided Adnan with attorney contacts for legal advice, and assisted him in completing an intake questionnaire for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Currently, CAIR-WA is waiting for the results of the investigation that the company initiated as a result of our letter, and may file an employment discrimination charge with EEOC depending on the results.

It is very important that people like Adnan come forward and report workplace harassment to CAIR-WA. Otherwise, abusive supervisors like Karen are never held accountable for their behavior and can (and very likely will) continue treating Muslim employees inappropriately.

[1] Name has been changed to protect privacy.

[2] Name has been changed to protect privacy.