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Muslim Correctional Officer Claims Racial and Religious Harassment Against California Prison

Emanuel Shirazi

Elsiddig Elhindi, a 56-year-old correctional officer at California State Prison-Sacramento recently filed a harassment lawsuit against CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Elhindi claims that co-workers would frequently harass him because of his national origin (Sudan) and his religion (Islam).

In addition to making derogatory comments about Elhindi’s accent and religion, his coworkers would allegedly refer to Elhindi as a terrorist.

According to the lawsuit, Elhindi started being harassed severely by his co-workers from the start of his employment in 2006. Elhinidi says that when he filed complaints with his supervisor and the union, the harassment only got worse. His coworkers began to refer to him as a “rat” or “snitch”. He said the harassment continued up until the day he left the facility in 2014.

Harassment of an employee based on their religion or national origin is illegal. A hostile work environment can arise when a co-worker, supervisor, or client engages in unwelcome and inappropriate racial based behavior, making the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive. Harassment does include racial or religious based comments, as is the case here.

How frequent do you think racial bias is in the workplace? How frequent do you think harassment of middle-eastern or Muslim employees is?

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