Category Archives: religious discrimination

Media company GDS International sued for sex and religious discrimination

Lobna Abdelrehim, a 26-year-old Egyptian-American employee at GDS International, has filed a lawsuit against the media company alleging gender and religious discrimination and for retaliation after she objected to the alleged workplace discrimination.

Lobna Abdelrehim

Abdelrehim’s lawsuit states that she has been subjected to an “overtly and disturbing sexually hostile work environment” at GDS International’s Wall Street offices. The complaint describes a workplace that is “rife with unwelcome sex-based bodily contact, such as hugs, patting, and face and forehead kissing.”

Abdelrehim alleges that sexually inappropriate company-wide emails referring to topics such as “MILFs” were regularly distributed.  In addition, her lawsuit claims that she and other saleswomen were given “overtly sexist and demeaning sales propaganda, exhorting [them] to use their feminine wiles as a sale closing technique.” 

For example, one company memo was entitled “Using your SEX to Sell and the Boulevard to Bombshell Bitchiness,” which included tips for female employees to “flirt to get what [you] want” and how female employees “can get away with being aggressive because its sexy.”

Abdelrehim, a Muslim, also claims that religious discrimination against Muslims was common at GDS International.  For example, emails were circulated among employees “depicting men in Muslim garb as raging homicidal terrorists.”

After Abdelrehim complained to the HR manager about the hostile work environment, she alleges that company management “made no attempt to credibly investigate, let alone redress,” her complaints.  Instead, she claims that she was retaliated against for having complained by being demoted shortly afterwards, and she was told that she would be fired if she didn’t achieve an extremely high and “unrealistic” sales quota.

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Former Washington Times editor files discrimination complaint with EEOC

Richard Miniter, the former editorial page editor and vice president of opinion for the Washington Times, has filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC against the newspaper.

Miniter alleges that he was “coerced” by company executives into attending a Unification Church religious ceremony last December that he deemed “creepy.”  The Washington Times is owned by officials of the Unification Church.

Miniter claims that he “was made to feel there was no choice” other than attending the religious ceremony if he wanted to keep his job.  He also said that Washington Times executives gave him “examples of people whose careers at the Times had grown after they converted” and became followers of the Unification Church.

Miniter, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and author of several books, was fired unexpectedly in September.  He also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of age and disability discrimination while employed with the Washington Times.

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Administaff and Conn-X sued by EEOC for anti-Semitic workplace bullying

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against staffing company Administaff, Inc. and Conn-X, LLC, a cable service provider in Baltimore, for subjecting Jewish employees to religious discrimination and workplace bullying.

The lawsuit claims that the two companies subjected Scott Jacobson and Joey Jacobson, who are brothers, to physical and verbal harassment and a hostile work environment because of their religion, Judaism. The victims claim that from September 2005 and continuing for several years, they were called “dirty Jew,” “dumb Jew,” and other anti-Semitic slurs by managers and coworkers.

The physical harassment included an incident in which Scott Jacobson’s work vehicle was defaced with a swastika and an incident in which he was forced into a trash dumpster for the amusement of managers, who observed the entire incident on a work surveillance camera. 

“The harassment here was cruel and callous,” said Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The use of the swastika is an especially egregious and provocative act, and the anti-Semitic epithets and physical violence alleged here are also outrageous. The EEOC will act, and act forcefully, to rectify this kind of workplace abuse.”

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Boss at Bath and Body Works accused of religious discrimination

A former sales manager at Bath and Body Works has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the retailer for firing her on the basis of her religious beliefs.

The sales manager, who is a member of the Wiccan religion, had asked her boss, Sandra Scibelli, for time off so that she could celebrate the Wiccan new year religious holiday.

Scibelli told the sales manager, “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard….you will ned a new career in your new year.  I will be damned if I have a devil-worshipper on my team.”

The sales manager was fired on November 2008 after she returned from her holiday vacation.  She is suing Bath and Body Works for lost wages and punitive damages for religious discrimination.

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