A former Walt Disney World Muslim employee, Abderrahmane Sebti, has filed a lawsuit against the theme park, seeking $75,000 for a claim that Disney discriminated against him based on his “nationality and his religion”by refusing to accommodate his religious demands during working hours.
Orlando Sentinel Abderrahmane Sebti, who worked at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort until he was terminated in 2014, is seeking more than $75,000 in the complaint against his former employer filed in U.S. District Court’s Orlando division last week.
In his lawsuit, Sebti accused Disney of violating his civil rights and creating a hostile working environment. The allegations include Sebti being prevented from praying during his Ramadan fast and passing him up on promotions. He also complained he found a noose at work, which was reported to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Sebti is seeking damages for lost wages, damages to his professional reputation and mental distress, court documents show.
“We have not been formally served with the complaint and will respond as appropriate in court,” Disney said in a statement. Sebti’s attorney, Jay Romano, declined to comment Tuesday. Sebti, a premium and special events coordinator at the ESPN complex, had worked at Disney since 1989, the lawsuit said.
Sebti said he found minor scratches on his car and later what looked like a noose made from green duct tape on his office chair in December 2012, according to a report from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
“ … He feels the noose was a sign telling to go ‘hang himself’ and feels that his is being threatened,” the sheriff’s January 2013 incident report said.
The sheriff’s office later determined the incident was “unfounded,” meaning the detective found no truth to the allegations or there was no proof a crime was committed. No arrests were made, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Disney faced a similar discrimination claim in 2012 after a different employee of Moroccan heritage, Imane Boudlal, filed suit against the company for religious discrimination and harassment at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. Boudlal claimed that the park refused to let her wear her hijab when working at the Storytellers Café.