Hasan v. Foley & Lardner LLP (7th Cir. 2008): Employment Discrimination

Mr. Zafar Hasan, a Muslim of Indian heritage, sued his former employer, Foley & Lardner LLP, under Title VII, alleging discrimination based on religion, race, national origin and color. The plaintiff claimed that his work assignments were cut and he was ultimately terminated because he was Muslim. For support, he points to the cut in his assignments that occurred immediately after 9/11, a comment made by one partner that “those people [Muslims] don’t belong here…they should kick them all out,” a warning by another partner to be careful about displaying articles the plaintiff had written on his view that Islam is a peaceful religion, and the fact that the other two Muslims in his department were either transferred or terminated in the same time period. The defendant company responds that it cut Mr. Hasan’s work and then terminated him due to poor work performance. The Circuit Court reversed and remanded the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’s grant of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that the plaintiff had presented enough direct evidence of religious discrimination to allow the case to move forward.

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