Sunday, September 27, 2009

Moorish American Corrections Officers Can Move Ahead With Discrimination Allegations

Bey v. City of New York, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87793 (SDNY, Sept. 9, 2009), is a lawsuit brought by a group of former New York City correction officers who were members of the Moorish American faith which teaches that Moors are exempt from taxation. They were terminated from their positions after hearings at which it was found that they had submitted false documents claiming to be tax exempt. They then sued, arguing that others of different faiths who had submitted false tax forms received less severe discipline. The court allowed certain of the plaintiffs to move ahead with equal protection and Establishment Clause claims, finding that "there remains a triable issue of fact as to whether Defendants' explanation for Plaintiffs' harsher treatment - that they persisted in their assertion of tax exempt status and failed to take affirmative steps to repay their taxes - is pretextual and whether, in fact, the Moors were singled out for harsher treatment based on their religion."