Sunday 21 December 2014

Muslim woman harassed at work gets $5m payout

Ian Andrews in Kansas City

Published 07/05/2012 | 05:00

A MUSLIM woman has been awarded over $5m (€3.8m) after taking a discrimination case against her employer.

Susann Bashir was awarded the record payout by the Jackson County jury who heard she suffered years of harassment after converting to Islam in 2005.

Ms Bashir worked at phone company AT&T for 10 years as a fibre optics network builder before being fired from her $70,000-a-year job.

She claimed she endured religious discrimination nearly every day of the final three years she worked there, including being asked if she was going to blow up the building and being called a "towelhead" and a terrorist.

She said the abuse boiled over in 2008 when her boss snatched her head scarf and exposed her hair.

Ms Bashir said her work environment became hostile immediately after she converted to Islam, with her co-workers making harassing comments about her religion and referring to her hijab as "that thing on her head".

"I was shocked. I thought, 'What is going on? Nobody ever cared what I wore before. Nobody ever cared what religion I was before'."

AT&T said it plans to appeal the award.

Irish Independent

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