Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City Prosecutor Sues Youngstown for Employment Discrimination

In Youngstown, Ohio, a Muslim prosecutor in the Youngstown Law Department has filed a federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination and failure to accommodate his need to attend Friday mosque services. In Ally v. City of Youngstown, (ND OH, filed 5/18/09), (full text of complaint), plaintiff Bassil Ally claims that for two years he was permitted to attend mosque services by being assigned to a courtroom that never met on Friday afternoons. In 2007, fellow prosecutors began to complain that Ally was receiving preferential treatment. He was also subjected to derogatory comments from fellow workers regarding his religion and national origin. Ally was placed on administrative leave after he went to mosque rather than attend a meeting of prosecutors scheduled by the City Prosecutor at a conflicting time. He was reinstated after he filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, but then, he alleges, he was harassed and humiliated, and was ultimately reassigned to a courtroom that met regularly on Friday afternoons. The complaint alleges discrimination, retaliation,harassment and hostile work environment in violation of state and federal law. Defendant's answer (full text) denies all the allegations and asserts a broad range of affirmative defenses. The Youngstown Vindicator reported on the case yesterday.