Ten years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, many American Muslims still feel that they are targets of discrimination and suspicion. And the effects are felt nationwide, even here in Florida.
Last month, an Arab-American of Moroccan descent filed a lawsuit against his former employer, a successful financial services company. The lawsuit alleges that the Florida branch where he worked engaged in racial and religious discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation.
The 37-year-old man says he was fired from PricewaterhouseCoopers (now called PwC) in 2009 despite a decade of loyalty and "laudatory" performance reviews. He alleges the company fired him because of comments he made during an interview for a company newsletter.
During that interview, the employee gave his opinion that "there is room for improvement" in PwC's diversity practices. He added that his recommendations to hire another qualified Muslim were ignored.
While these comments were never published, he was given a negative "performance note" three days later from his superiors. It criticized him for the way he allegedly treated his subordinates. He was fired shortly thereafter.
The man was able to find a job with another company. However, the lawsuit claims that PwC continued to retaliate against him by orchestrating his termination from this job as well.
After the lawsuit was filed, the man told the press that "What happened to me should not happen to any other person. They've gone out of their way to destroy my life."
Companies are ultimately hurting themselves when they ignore an employee's constructive criticism about expanding racial diversity in the workplace. Furthermore, racial discrimination and retaliation are both immoral and illegal. As such, companies who engage in these practices need to be held accountable for their actions.
Source: tampabay.com, "Suit accuses PricewaterhouseCoopers of discrimination against Arab-American," William R. Levesque, Aug. 10, 2011