After initially being denied a permit to renovate their aging and unsuitable mosque, the Islamic Center of South Bay (ICSB) finally settled with the City of Lomita, had its permits approved, and will be breaking ground on their new center soon.
In its recent ruling in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., the majority of a 3-judge panel in the Tenth Circuit wrongly dismissed the EEOC's claim of religious discrimination at the summary judgment phase. In that case, Abercrombie & Fitch declined to hire Samantha Elauf, a Muslim, because her headscarf conflicted with its undisclosed Look Policy. When sued by the EEOC, Abercrombie cried wolf declaring that it did not know that Elauf was a Muslim and wore a hijab, despite not hiring her exactly for that reason. Abercrombie claimed that because Elauf did not explicitly request a religious accommodation, Abercrombie lacked the requisite notice and could not be found liable for religious discrimination. Surprisingly, the majority agreed with Abercrombie and overturned the district court's decision to the contrary.
Beginning next year, California will have new workplace laws in effect. Some of the laws cover such areas as workplace discrimination and the rights of workers, but the focus for the New Year was mostly on the budget. Approximately 18 laws are scheduled to affect both employees and their employers.
The right of individuals to practice their religion is a basic right afforded to all who reside in the United States. However, when it comes to exercising the same religious rights in the workplace, many employers have limited their employees ability to do so by setting forth certain appearance guidelines that can conflict with an individual's religious beliefs. Such restrictions are about to be outlawed under a new California statute aimed at protecting the rights of workers concerning their appearance when it is tied to their religious beliefs.
A former employee of Disney Corp. has filed a suit in federal court. In her complaint, the woman alleges that she was subject to workplace discrimination due to Disney's refusal to allow her to wear a head scarf while she worked. This refusal, according to the California woman, constituted workplace discrimination, which resulted in her leaving her job.
Attorneys from Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Council on American Islamic Relations responded to a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney granting a Department of Justice request to dismiss their civil rights lawsuit against the FBI. Although the Court's ruling dismissed the lawsuit against the FBI, it permits the suit to go forward against the individual government agents under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Today, Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick, along with the ACLU of Southern California, filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company on behalf of a Muslim woman who was the target of anti-Arab harassment and failure to accommodate her religious belief. Imane Boudlal, a 28 year old woman of Moroccan descent, was called a "terrorist," "camel," and "Kunta Kinte" by co-workers and supervisors after they learned she was a Muslim. Disney failed to take any action, even after being told of the harassment. Later, Ms. Boudlal asked her managers if she could wear the hijab to work. She worked as a hostess at a hotel restaurant where her only "uniform" was a vest and khaki pants. She was told that she would either have to work in another location, outside the sight of guests, or wear a hat that looked like a derby over a scarf. When she asked to wear a simple scarf that matched her uniform, she was refused. "This is modern day Jim Crow," said Anne Richardson, one of her attorneys. "Muslim employees who want to express their religion by wearing a headscarf are asked to hide it, or work out of sight." https://www.aclusocal.org/muslim-former-employee-sues-disney/
Hadsell Stormer Richardson & Renick along with the office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have filed a joint complaint against the city of Lomita for denying the Islamic Center of South Bay's application to build a new mosque.
The ACLU Foundation of Southern California has a tradition of recognizing attorneys who have done extraordinary work in protecting civil liberties and civil rights. This year at the annual Law Luncheon, June 8, 2012, Dan Stormer, along with attorneys Reem Salahi and Josh Piovia-Scott will be presented with the 2012 Religious Liberty Award in recognition of their outstanding work as co-counsel on Fazaga v. FBI, a class action challenge on behalf of Yassir Fazaga, Ali Malik, Yassir Abdel Rahim, and a class of Orange County Muslims, to the FBI's practice of targeting Muslims for surveillance because of their religion.
A California police officer has settled a lawsuit against his employer for $50,000. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy says he faced workplace discrimination because of his religious views after arresting the actor Mel Gibson for driving under the influence in 2006.