Press Release: Illinois Muslim Worker Files Bias Suit (Sears)

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today announced that a Muslim worker in Illinois filed a religious and national origin discrimination lawsuit against a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck and Co., one of the nation’s largest retailers.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Eastern Division), alleges that employees of Sears Logistics Services repeatedly called the Muslim plaintiff  “Bin Ladin,” “Taliban,” “terrorist,” and “crazy Muslim.” They also allegedly mocked the plaintiff’s Middle Eastern accent and asked if he was going to blow up the building. The harassment continued despite what the lawsuit said were the plaintiff’s repeated objections to the employees and to supervisors.

In fact, the lawsuit states that a company manager told the Muslim worker that: “…as a result of 9/11, and as a result of Plaintiff’s appearance and accent, Plaintiff should get used to being treated differently.”

On November 14, 2003, the Muslim employee filed a charge of religion and national origin discrimination with the EEOC. On November 28, 2003, the worker was terminated for allegedly being a total of six minutes late to work over the course of three days. The plaintiff says he arrived at work on time on all three days.

The lawsuit seeks reinstatement of the Muslim employee, back wages, as well as other compensatory and punitive damages.

“Given America’s increasingly diverse workforce, employers must learn to address issues related to religious, ethnic and national origin discrimination,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Yaser Tabbara.

Tabbara said CAIR publishes a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to prevent just such incidents. The booklet is available by e-mailing: Include name, address and phone number when requesting the booklet.)

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Yaser Tabbara, 312-718-3725, 312-212-1520