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Lawsuit: Bosses Were Hostile To Former NYC Transit Worker’s Muslim Faith

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A former New York City transit worker filed a lawsuit Wednesday, claiming that he faced “a campaign of hostility” toward his Muslim faith on the job.

The lawsuit, a copy of which was uploaded to Scribd.com, was filed in U.S. District Court by Sheikh Ahmed. The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s New York City Transit division was named as the defendant.

In the lawsuit, Ahmed, described as a devout Muslim, claimed he had a track record of  more than 10 years as a car cleaner in the transit system’s Department of Buses when he transferred to the East New York depot in Brooklyn in 2009.

Before he transferred, Ahmed was allowed to pray and attend services in accordance with his faith during working hours, and he usually used a scheduled break to observe the one required daily prayer that fell during his shift, the lawsuit said.

But Ahmed asked for a transfer to East New York from the Fresh Pond Bus Depot in Queens so he could be closer to home, after his ill wife gave birth to a son with serious medical problems, the lawsuit said.

Once he began working at East New York, Ahmed was “interrogated” by his supervisors about his religious beliefs and practices, the lawsuit said. His supervisors also refused to accommodate his need to attend Jummah services every Friday afternoon, the suit said.

When Ahmed asked his supervisor to let him attend services, and suggested consolidating scheduled breaks for the service, the supervisor refused to accommodate the requests, the lawsuit said. Ahmed was also denied a vacation period for the religious observance of Eid, and was given dangerous assignments and disciplined for no reason, the lawsuit alleged.

And when Ahmed took issue with working alone due to fears of hate crimes against Muslims, the supervisor also told Ahmed that “his concerns about hate crimes against Muslims were ‘B.S.’ and not important,” the lawsuit said.

Ahmed’s supervisors allegedly brought disciplinary actions against him after he complained about religious discrimination, to the point where he filed a Human Rights complaint against the transit authority and left his job, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accuses the transit authority of religious discrimination, retaliation, and failure to accommodate.

The suits seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $1 million.

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