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Utah Muslim claps back with a lawsuit on ex-employer over religious discrimination

Allan Goodson was denied his right to prayers and was continuously harassed by his colleagues while working at Bradshaw Chevrolet two years ago. He’s currently suing Cedar car dealership for firing him on the basis of his religious affiliation, that is Islam.

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Initially, Allan Goodson was a Christian but reverted to Islam, and from that point onwards faced harassment from his supervisor and colleagues. Goodson had reported these actions to another supervisor who brushed his concerns away calling the actions to be taken as a joke merely.

He has taken legal action against Bradshaw Chevrolet for violating Civil Rights Act VII, which stipulates that no employee must face discrimination on ethnic, racial, religious, gender, etc grounds.

The lawsuit explains that, as a Muslim, Goodson requires to pray five times a day but his supervisors refused to accommodate his work hours, and instead labelled him as a “terrorist”.

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These xenophobic and Islamaphobic remarks were also faced by Goodson’s middle eastern friend who the supervisor would taunt by saying, “The darker your skin colour, the eviler you are,” and other obscene remarks like “sand n***.”

When the owner, Mark Bradshaw was questioned, he denied all said allegations. Goodson emphasised last August, that he was fired over his religious affiliation, that is Islam. He had filed a complaint with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC) and three days after that he was fired twice.

While the EEOC did not take up his request, it did issue Goodson a right to take the company to court within a 90-day bracket this year.  The lawsuit was filed on Monday by a Salt Lake Metropolis Agency along with the Council of American-Islamic Relations. Gheider Abbas, a lawyer at the Council deemed the dealership to be a ‘toxic’ place full of age-old bigoted perceptions.

Muslims have long been the target of prejudiced white supremacists and evangelists. America’s image of a ‘melting-pot’ is challenged by such acts that many Muslims and other racial, religious, ethnic entities go through in the country, some even worse than this. News outlets are quick to highlight all Muslims as terrorists but fail to scrutinise actions back at home.

A study in 2013 showed that Muslims applying for jobs suffer more discrimination even in the application process and tend to have the lowest call back rate on a national scale, almost below 13 per cent.

Read more: US religious freedom report; future of Muslims in India

In 2015, Abercombie and Fitch discriminated against an applicant who wore a hijab. In 2017, Pax Assist provided disability support to differently-abled people but continued to discriminate against Muslims.

Their Muslim workers demanded a change of work hours in Ramadan but instead, the supervisors lashed out saying “ We don’t care about Ramadan. We’ll give you a break on our time, not your time.”

Allan Goodson has taken a brave action knowing full well of his position as a Muslim in the country. Media outlets must highlight his case to hold the car dealership accountable for its Islamaphobic and xenophobic actions.

Read more: Caste discrimination taints corporate India

The American public must support the victims to revitalise the values of the American society, which was built upon the notions of liberalism, religious pluralism and tolerance.

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