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Muslim man wins employment discrimination case

Have any Maryland employees been harassed at work because of their beard? Probably not many. But one Michigan man was and he even lost out on a promotion because of it. He filed an employment discrimination suit and recently won $1.2 million.

The 56-year-old Muslim-American man -- originally from Tunisia -- was a county employee for 17 years. He had worked his way up to maintenance technician after starting his career as a bus driver. However, the married father of four was fired in 2008 after he refused to work five minutes before the start of his shift. After his firing, his marriage collapsed and he became homeless.

However, the man believes that insubordination wasn't the real reason for his termination. He has constantly harassed because of his race and religion. His long beard was also the source of many taunts. He complained to management, but nothing was done. He even lost out on a promotion even though he was more than qualified. In fact, a less-qualified non-union worker got the job.

The county denied the claims, alleging that the man had been cited multiple times for poor performance and insubordination. The county had no evidence to back up its claims. The jury sided with the man and awarded him $1.2 million after a trial that lasted two weeks.

Everyone -- regardless of appearance, religion and race -- deserves the right to have a workplace that is free of harassment. When positions open up, all qualified individuals should be able to apply without the fear of being disqualified based on their beliefs or appearance.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Muslim-American man wins nearly $1.2 million in job discrimination case" Tresa Baldas, Feb. 28, 2014

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