Boy Scouts Liable for Bias Against Muslim Worker

     (CN) – The Boy Scouts of America owes $152,500 in back wages to a Muslim Egyptian-American who was passed over for promotion, a federal judge ruled.
     From August 2001 to October 2005, Kamal Aly worked as a district executive for Boy Scouts of America’s Mohegan Council. He resigned after the council decided not to send him to professional development III training.
     Aly filed a federal complaint claiming that the organization denied his promotion and appropriate compensation because he is Muslim and of Egyptian descent.
     At trial in Massachusetts, Aly presented evidence that he was qualified for professional development III training that would lead to a promotion, but was passed over for a non-Egyptian, non-Muslim employee.
     A jury found for Aly, and awarded him $152,500 in back pay and $300,000 in punitive damages.
     The Boy Scouts tried to overturn the verdict, but U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor IV refused.
     Though the evidence of discriminatory “is thin at best,” Saylor said “it is not so one-sided that no jury could reasonably find that discrimination occurred.”
     The judge nevertheless set aside the punitive damages award because “there was no evidence presented of reckless or callous indifference to plaintiff’s federally-protected rights.”
     “A party’s mere awareness of the existence of anti-discrimination laws, without more, is not enough to prove that defendant subjectively perceived that its actions could violate plaintiff’s federal rights,” Saylor wrote.
     “In other words, making all possible inferences in plaintiff’s favor, this court determined that there was just enough evidence go to trial and sustain the jury’s verdict,” he added. “Such meager evidence falls far short of showing the sort of ‘reckless or callous indifference to the federally protected rights of others’ necessary to subject defendant to punitive damages.”
     The judge additionally awarded Aly $70,175 in attorneys’ fees.

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