More precisely, he says he was fired because he filed a complaint with the EEOC, claiming he was being harassed for being a Muslim. In any case, lots of people have unpleasant work environments, and have to work with people who are rude or unkind or cruel to them. So what? It’s a part of life — unless you’re a Muslim who can seize the opportunity to claim protected victim status and cash in in the courtroom. “Lawsuit claiming firing was retaliation is headed for trial,” by Peter Krouse for The Plain Dealer, April 17 (thanks to Twostellas):
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Rami Awad’s more than three years as a branch employee of National City Bank ended badly — and a jury is about to hear what happened.
In 2007, Awad was fired on the grounds that he improperly opened several accounts and processed a loan without the customer’s authorization. But that’s not the real reason he was let go, he claims. Awad, an Arabic Muslim of Palestinian descent, sued the bank and a former supervisor and the case is set for trial April 26 in federal court.
Awad, 32, contends he was fired in retaliation for a claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in February 2007. He also claims he was subject to a hostile work environment.
U.S. District Judge James Gwin recently dismissed several other claims by Awad of discrimination related to promotions, pay, punishment and termination, but allowed Awad’s claims of retaliatory firing and a hostile work environment to proceed.
A spokesman for PNC Financial Services Inc., which bought National City in late 2008, declined to comment. The bank and co-defendant Nancy Malta have filed court documents denying Awad’s allegations.
In his complaint, Awad claims that he was harassed by his fellow employees because of his religion and nationality.
In one instance, while working as a part-time teller at a branch in Boardman, the manager said to Awad in front of others, “You are probably one of the terrorists on the watch list,” according to the complaint.
At the bank’s McKinley branch, when Awad spoke on the phone in Arabic, a bank officer would make discriminatory comments such as “Rami is about to bomb something,” the complaint states.
Awad later worked at a branch in Wexford, Pa., where his duties also included opening accounts. He claims the branch manager, Malta, told him drinking alcohol with colleagues is part of the job, and that if someone doesn’t drink he should not be in banking.
Awad claims Malta knew he did not consume alcohol because of his Muslim faith.
The EEOC claim alleged that Awad was passed over for promotion because of his national origin. Awad claims that prior to his EEOC hearing, Malta threatened to have him fired….