Muslim Can Sue Boeing for Harassment

     SEATTLE (CN) – A federal judge allowed a Muslim worker to sue Boeing on claims that co-workers put bleach in his drinking water and a manager harassed him as a terrorist.
     Yasser Emad, who worked as an assembler for Boeing in Everett, claimed he was denied a promotion because he complained about racial and religious discrimination.
     Emad, who was born in Egypt and identifies as Arab-American and African-American, said co-workers harassed him for his Muslim faith, and made continual comments about terrorists.
     Among other things, he claims that a manager said, “I’m not going to let that Ali-Baba terrorist be a team lead;” that when he wore a “Major League Muslim” T-shirt showing three prayer stances, a coworker said, “Oh, is that three guys fucking on your shirt? I didn’t know that’s how Muslims rolled;” and that when he complained of the harassment, “someone put chlorine or bleach in his water bottle.”
     Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman refused Boeing’s request for summary judgment on Emad’s claims of discrimination for race, religion and national origin. She granted Boeing summary judgment on his claims for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, because the bases were identical to the bases for discrimination. But if he prevails on his discrimination claims, he will be able to obtain damages for emotional distress.
     Boeing claimed that “the denial of a temporary management position cannot be considered an adverse employment action.”
     Pechman disagreed.
     “A reasonable jury could conclude, based on the evidence submitted, that the denial of the temporary management position was an adverse employment action, which affected plaintiff’s compensation, hours, and opportunity for advancement, and that the adverse action was based on a supervisor’s discriminatory animus towards Arabs and Muslims,” Pechman wrote in her Aug. 11 ruling.
     She also found that Emad presented sufficient evidence that a reasonable person could “conclude Boeing did not take steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment” and that the company “declined to do any meaningful investigation, at all, following the water bottle contamination incident.”
     Emad is represented by Rekhi & Wolk, in Seattle, and James Bible.
     Boeing is represented by attorneys from Riddell Williams.

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