The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a worker at UPS’s San Bruno Hub in South San Francisco, claiming that the company complacently allowed supervisors and coworkers to discriminate against and harass him for being Arab and Muslim.
Talal Alfaour, a South City resident who is Jordanian and Muslim, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit claims that the global shipping company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment due to national origin and religion, and that the company also illegally retaliated against Alfaour after he reported the harassment to the company, his union and the EEOC.
Alfaour began working at UPS’s South City center since 1995 as a loader and revenue worker. Since at least 2004, Alfaour has faced both verbal and physical harassment, the lawsuit alleges.
He was derided as “Dr. Bomb,” “Al Qaeda” and “Taliban,” and a supervisor told Alfaour that he could never work with hazardous materials because “you are a terrorist and you are going to blow up the building.” Alfaour was assaulted with rocks, bottles and tools, and a dead mouse was placed in his lunch sack.
Although Alfaour repeatedly reported the harassment to management, UPS failed to take effective action, and instead he was involuntarily transferred and subjected to micro-managing scrutiny at his new work station.
“Mr. Alfaour faced egregious and intolerable harassment but continues to work at UPS in hopes that the situation would be remedied,” said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William Tamayo. “The EEOC has filed suit to defend his right to a work environment free from hostility, intimidation and ridicule.”
The suit seeks monetary damages on behalf of Alfaour, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the work site and other measures to prevent future discrimination.
Patch is still awaiting a response from UPS about the lawsuit, but a spokeswoman told the San Mateo Daily Journal that the company UPS has a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination.