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Muslim Woman Wins $6 Million in Damages from AT&T over Discrimination
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On Thursday, a jury in Jackson County Circuit Court ordered AT&T to pay $120,000 in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages for discrimination against Susann Bashir, a Kansas City woman who converted from Christianity to Islam.

Susann, 41, had sued AT&T unit Southwestern Bell for a pattern of offensive and discriminatory conduct by supervisors following her conversion to Islam in 2005. This was after six years of service as a network technician for the company. Susann alleged that when she started wearing a head scarf and attending Friday prayers at mosques, her colleagues and manager started calling her names like “terrorist” and told her that she would be going to hell.

On top of verbal abuses, a manager repeatedly insisted that she remove her hijab, insulted her for wearing the religious head scarf and once grabbed her physically and tried to rip it off her head. Susann complained to the human resources department of the company and also filed a formal complaint alleging discrimination before the EEOC following which she was fired.

  
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Marty Richter, AT & T spokesman said that the company would appeal the decision. He said, “AT&T is a nationally recognized leader in workforce diversity and inclusion, something in which we take great pride. We disagree with the verdict and plan to appeal.”

Susann’s lawyer agreed that the company has “an excellent written policy” and that “If they had just followed the policy none of this would have happened.”

The jury found that a “hostile work environment” occurred following the plaintiff’s religious conversion from Christianity to Islam. The judge’s order in the matter was issued on Friday.

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Amy Coopman the lawyer of Bashir said that the judgment would have little effect on AT & T which is wealthy global corporation, but it was ‘monumental’ for her client.





 

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