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October 2, 2012 / Christian Przybylowski

UPS Worker Files Harassment and Discrimination Lawsuit

A federal lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges UPS with violations of federal anti-discrimination, harassment, and retaliation laws.  The suit alleges that a Muslim worker was subjected to physical assault and harassment by his co-workers.  Complaints to management failed to remedy the situation.  The suit seeks damages for the employee as well as training for other UPS workers to ensure that this kind of harassment does not continue.

The EEOC suit states that Talal Alfaour, a Jordanian Muslim working for UPS in San Francisco since 1995, faced verbal and physical harassment since at least 2004.  Alfaour, who works as a loader and revenue worker, was told by a supervisor that he could never handle hazardous materials because he was a “terrorist” and that he would “blowup the building.”  Other workers referred to Alfaour as “al Qaeda,” “Taliban,” and “Dr. Bomb.”  He has also been assaulted by co-workers with various implements including bottles, rocks, and tools.  On one occasion, a dead mouse was placed in Alfaour’s lunch.

Alfaour repeatedly reported the harassing conagement to no avail.  Instead of taking effective action to combat the harassment, Alfaour was involuntarily transferred and subjected to enhanced managerial scrutiny at his new position.

Harassment due to national origin and religion is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Title VII also protects employees who report this type of discrimination from retaliation by their employers.  The EEOC initially tried to reach a voluntary settlement with UPS before filing suit.  The suit seeks damages for Alfaour, training for employees on anti-discrimination laws, and other measures to prevent current and future discrimination.

According to the EEOC, charges of retaliation have reached an all time high.  Retaliation charges accounted for the highest number of claims made to the EEOC last year.  Retaliation is especially destructive to the workplace environment because it discourages other employees from reporting abuse and allows harassers to continue without reprisal.

If you or a loved one has been subjected to workplace harassment or retaliation, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential evaluation of your rights.

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