A Muslim woman in Missouri has been rewarded $US5 million by court ruling after enduring several years of work intimidation by telephone giant AT&T.
NDJ World | Published: May 08 2012 North America
The constant intimidation came to a legal battle in 2008 when AT&T asked the woman to remove her hijab (head scarf).
Susann Bashir converted to Muslim in 2005. Bashir says that immediately after her conversion, she noticed her co-workers started to bash her. They began calling her ‘hijab head’ and asked her if she was going to blow up the building.
“I was shocked,” Susann said. “Before that, no one ever bothered or commented on what I wore. No one ever asked me what religion I belonged to.”
After 10 years of service, Bashir was terminated from her office job at AT&T. The last three years of her employment Bashir says she was subjected to daily religious confrontations.
She filed a claim, which angered her co-workers. During a meeting with her boss, Bashir says he suddenly ripped her hijab off her head, exposing her to everyone present.
Bashir said that incident left her so devastated she couldn’t go to work anymore. She repeatedly asked for being terminated or being transferred to another location; neither of her requests were ever granted.
After being absent for nine months, she was terminated.
A jury ruled that AT&T had to pay Bashir $US5 million for discrimination plus $US120,000 for missed wages. The settlement is the highest amounts every rewarded for discrimination at work in Missouri.
AT&T was not available for comments but did say they plan to appeal the court’s ruling.
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