Subject of False Terrorist Probe Loses Bias Claims

     (CN) – An Islamic New York utility worker was not subjected to racial discrimination when he was erroneously investigated as a possible terrorist, a New York appellate division ruled.

     Youssef Tokko asked his instructor questions about manhole safety at the Consolidated Edison Co.’s Learning Center. The instructor became suspicious and alerted his supervisor.
     Tokko was investigated and ultimately cleared by a Joint Terrorist Task Force. However, he claimed that he suffered discrimination because he is an Islamic Arab of Lebanese descent.
     He also claimed that the incident caused him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and led to him failing the Mechanic B exam.
     The trial court dismissed Tokko’s discrimination case against the utility company, and the Manhattan-based appellate division upheld the decision.
     “There is no evidence in the record that plaintiff was reported to the authorities because of his race, national origin, or religion,” the judges wrote. “The evidence shows that his questions were deemed suspicious because they were unusual, especially for a new, entry-level employee.”
     Also, the supervisor’s actions were protected under the Freedom to Report Terrorism Act. The judges also notes that Consolidated Edison employees did not treat Tokko poorly, accepting the investigation’s determination that Tokko was not a terrorist.
     “Plaintiff was not subjected to harassing remarks or treated poorly in any other manner at his workplace,” the judges wrote.

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