A St. Louis area Muslim woman has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against a security company that recommended she not be hired, a Muslim activist group says.
The woman claims the only reason the company did not hire her is because she wears the traditional Muslim head scarf, or hijab.
In September, a Securitas Security Services office in St. Louis passed on hiring Zahraa-Imani Ali, a former Missouri correctional officer. Robert West, Ali’s attorney, insisted in a statement to the press that the Muslim woman was refused employment, “at least in part, but likely entirely, on the fact that Ms. Ali wears the hijab as part of her adherence to the Islamic faith,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Ali’s lawsuit claims that she was told in a phone interview with a job recruiter that her hijab was not a problem but in a series of emails a company manager recommends that the company “recruitment specialist” should “pass on” hiring the Muslim woman.
According to communications the lawsuit alleges came from Securitas, the recruiter was told, “I would personally sidestep this one.”
CAIR, the activist Muslim group once cited as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal terrorism investigation, claims that the company’s “pass” on hiring Ali is an example of “Islamophobia.”
“The mainstreaming of Islamophobia has made it much harder for American Muslims to gain employment because of religious discrimination, Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR’s Missouri chapter, said of the case. “We hope this lawsuit will send a clear message to all employers to follow the law and not engage in discriminatory hiring practices.”
The lawsuit is demanding unspecified monetary damages and is also seeking class-action status to seek out other “victims.”
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