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National Origin, Religious Harassment Alleged in EEOC Suit Against UPS

September 13, 2012
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Related Topics: Harassment, Diversity, Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Ethics, Latest News
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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against United Parcel Service of America Inc. for allegedly allowing supervisors and co-workers to discriminate against and harass an employee for being Jordanian and Muslim.

Since 2004, Talal Alfaour, a loader at UPS in San Francisco, allegedly had faced verbal and physical harassment, often referred to by supervisors and co-workers as "Dr. Bomb," "al-Qaida" and "Taliban," the EEOC said in a statement.

Alfaour also was assaulted with rocks, bottles and tools, and a dead mouse was placed in his lunch sack, the EEOC said.

UPS management allegedly failed to take action after Alfaour reported the harassment, and he was involuntarily transferred to another work station and subjected to additional scrutiny from management, the EEOC said.

After failing to reach a voluntary settlement through conciliation with UPS, the EEOC filed the lawsuit Tuesday against the Atlanta-based global shipping company for national origin and religious harassment in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

"Alfaour faced egregious and intolerable harassment but continues to work at UPS in hopes that the situation would be remedied," said William R. Tamayo, a regional attorney for the EECO in San Francisco, in the statement. "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 and mandatory anti-discrimination training, among other measures.

"Certainly UPS has zero tolerance for discrimination in any form — it is part of our policies and reinforced in our training," a UPS spokeswoman said.

"We take any claims of discrimination very seriously and thoroughly investigate them. UPS will vigorously defend itself against the claims made by the EEOC," she said. "We investigated individual allegations made by Talal Alfaour and have addressed them both to Mr. Alfaour and to the EEOC."

Mike Tsikoudakis writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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