Friday, September 30, 2016

Muslim Palestinian Teacher's Discrimination Claims Survive Motion To Dismiss

In Hashem v. Hunterdon County, (D NJ, Sept. 20, 2016), a New Jersey federal district court refused to dismiss certain claims by a New Jersey high school history teacher that her school and her supervisors discriminated and retaliated against her on the basis of religion, race and national origin.  The teacher, Sireen Hashem, a Muslim Arab of Palestinian descent, was reprimanded for showing a video, at the suggestion of another teacher who had also shown it, featuring the young Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl's education advocate. Subsequently Hashem's contract was not renewed.  According to the court:
Hashem alleges that she was instructed not to "teach current events in the same manner as her non-Arab, non-Palestinian and non-Muslim colleagues." ...On a separate occasion, Hashem was allegedly told "not [to] mention Islam or the Middle East in her class, and that she "should not bring her culture, life experience or background into the classroom."
While dismissing a number of her claims, the court allowed the teacher to move ahead with claims for employment discrimination, disparate treatment, retaliation and discriminatory discharge.