CAIR The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on Anti American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) and the law firm of Swartz Swidler, LLC (Swartz Swidler) have filed a law suit against Whole Foods Market alleging religious discrimination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A former Muslim employee is suing Whole Foods, alleging that he was harassed and ultimately terminated because of his Islamic faith. Supervisors turned on him when they learned he was making the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, and the situation got so bad that 24-year-old Glenn Mack had to resort to praying by the dumpsters outside the store:
He said he requested time for the vacation months in advance of the November 2010 trip, and received approval. But shortly before leaving, he said, his supervisors gave him a choice of keeping his job or going on the trip.
He went on the trip. When he returned, he didn’t lose his job immediately, but he said, attitudes toward him had changed. Supervisors would follow him on his breaks to a back corner of the supply room where he typically went to pray. For privacy, Mack said he resorted to praying outside next to the Dumpster.
CAIR-Philadelphia attorney Amara Chaudhry represented Mack at his fact-finding hearing before the EEOC before recruiting Richard Swartz from Swartz Swidler to take over as co-counsel in this matter.
“In 2010, Whole Foods became the first national supermarket chain to have a ‘Ramadan Promotion’ targeting Muslim customers. A company that works so hard to attract Muslim customers should be similarly welcoming of Muslim employees, and we are willing to hold them accountable for the representations they made to our community,” said CAIR-Philadelphia Civil Rights Director and Staff Attorney Amara Chaudhry.
The law suit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County last week on behalf of former employee, Glenn Mack, Jr. Attorney Richard Swartz of Swartz Swidler is serving as lead counsel with attorney Amara S. Chaudhry of CAIR-Philadelphia serving as co-counsel.
The complaint states: “Defendants discriminated against Plaintiff and terminated Plaintiff’s employment because Plaintiff practiced the Islamic faith. As a direct consequence of Defendants’ unlawful actions as described above, Plaintiff has and continues to suffer emotional distress, pain and suffering, humiliation and substantial lost income.
Mack is seeking compensation for all pay benefits he would have received had he not been terminated, and damages for emotional distress and pain and suffering.
“Employers need to be tolerant of the religious beliefs of their employees. In this lawsuit, Mr. Mack alleges that Whole Foods was not, and that Whole Foods retaliated against him when he complained about the intolerance,” says Richard Swartz Attorney at Swartz Swidler law firm.
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