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MHV9218

Muslim Man Sues Transit Authority, Alleging Religious Harassment

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Story by Lauren Evans of gothamist.com

 

 

A former bus cleaner is suing the NYCTA for "persistent harassment due to his Muslim beliefs" and denying him "reasonable workplace accommodation of his religious observances," according to a statement from DRUM, an advocacy group based in Queens.

 

According to the complaint, Bangladesh-born Sheikh Ahmed worked as a cleaner with NYCTA's Department of Buses with a clean record for more than 10 years. Trouble apparently began, however, when Ahmed transferred to Brooklyn's East New York Depot in 2009, where he claimed to be subjected to various forms of mistreatment for observing his daily prayer requirements, as well as denied leave to observe Jumah, which stipulates attendance of Friday afternoon service at an Islamic mosque.

The complaint provides several examples of Ahmed's alleged mistreatment. In July of 2010, Ahmed claims his supervisor, David Forrest, "forced Ahmed to work in the pouring rain, when a more junior cleaner would have normally been assigned to the job." The next day, the complaint alleges that "Forrest unnecessarily reassigned Ahmed to work alone outside in temperatures above 95 degrees," despite warnings from supervisors about the dangers of working in extreme heat.

The most troubling charge took place in September, when Ahmed was allegedly assigned to "work outside the depot alone," despite the fact that employees were typically assigned to pairs. Ahmed said he had specifically expressed concern about working alone "due to reports of hate crimes against Muslims." When Ahmed filed a safety grievance a week later, Forrest allegedly told him that "his concerns...were 'B.S.' and not important.

According to a spokesperson from DRUM, Ahmed is not currently speaking to the media about the lawsuit, but you can read the complaint in its entirety below. In a statement, his lawyer said, "Mr. Ahmed’s case draws attention to the continuing problem of Muslim employees being prevented from observing their religion because they are unlawfully denied reasonable workplace accommodations." An MTA spokesman said, "We do not comment on pending litigation."

 

If anybody comes off badly in this, it's this guy Forrest. Nothing like a mid-career scandal to mess up that pension...

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Oh boy...  <_<  Hey I'm Catholic... I wish I could sue for my for not being able to get certain days that I want off... I think Columbus Day is a holy day but apparently my boss disagrees.  :lol:

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Oh boy...  <_<  Hey I'm Catholic... I wish I could sue for my for not being able to get certain days that I want off... I think Columbus Day is a holy day but apparently my boss disagrees.  :lol:

 

I don't think you are completely in the know here on this one. This man absolutely has a solid basis for a lawsuit according to the information given in the report. It's unfortunate that Forrest in his stupidity has to ruin the MTA's image with the allegations made against him. In fact I'm shocked as the MTA has a good record for being an equal opportunity employer!

 

Here let me highlight something for you here: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects workers from retailation from employers on the basis of religion. Employers must make accommodations for persons based on religions and that includes days off for religious obligations required by their faith. I would even imagine that includes Christians and Muslims alike. For the record speaking as a Christian.

 

Source: http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/civil-rights/religiousfreedom/religfreeres/ReligAccommodWPlace-docx.pdf

 

It states:

 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 ("Title VII") prohibits employers, except religious organizations from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. Title VII also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee, unless to do so would create an undue hardship upon the employer.

 

 

Now there are apparently further violations that was made on the part of Forrest against this employee:

 

1) David Forrest forced Ahmed to work in the pouring rain, when a more junior cleaner would have normally been assigned to the job.

 

2) Forrest unnecessarily reassigned Ahmed to work alone outside in temperatures above 95 degrees, this despite counsel from supervisors concerning the dangers of working in extreme heat. Heat stroke kills.

 

3) Ahmed was allegedly assigned to "work outside the depot alone," despite the fact that employees were routinely assigned as teams. I'm assuming that is a violation of TA policy but we'll let a transit worker confirm that.

 

4) As Ahmed filed a safety grievance, Forrest allegedly told him that "his concerns...were 'B.S.' and not important. Quote on quote.

 

Awaiting your response.

 

 

If anybody comes off badly in this, it's this guy Forrest. Nothing like a mid-career scandal to mess up that pension...

 
... Tarnishing the MTA image as an equal opportunity employer with a diverse workforce in the process.
Edited by realizm

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I don't think you are completely in the know here on this one. This man absolutely has a solid basis for a lawsuit according to the information given in the report. It's unfortunate that Forrest in his stupidity has to ruin the MTA's image with the allegations made against him. In fact I'm shocked as the MTA has a good record for being an equal opportunity employer!

 

Here let me highlight something for you here: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects workers from retailation from employers on the basis of religion. Employers must make accommodations for persons based on religions and that includes days off for religious obligations required by their faith. I would even imagine that includes Christians and Muslims alike. For the record speaking as a Christian.

 

Source: http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/civil-rights/religiousfreedom/religfreeres/ReligAccommodWPlace-docx.pdf

 

It states:

 

 

 

Now there are apparently further violations that was made on the part of Forrest against this employee:

 

1) David Forrest forced Ahmed to work in the pouring rain, when a more junior cleaner would have normally been assigned to the job.

 

2) Forrest unnecessarily reassigned Ahmed to work alone outside in temperatures above 95 degrees, this despite counsel from supervisors concerning the dangers of working in extreme heat. Heat stroke kills.

 

3) Ahmed was allegedly assigned to "work outside the depot alone," despite the fact that employees were routinely assigned as teams. I'm assuming that is a violation of TA policy but we'll let a transit worker confirm that.

 

4) As Ahmed filed a safety grievance, Forrest allegedly told him that "his concerns...were 'B.S.' and not important. Quote on quote.

 

Awaiting your response.

 

 

 
 
... Tarnishing the MTA image as an equal opportunity employer with a diverse workforce in the process.

lol... I was being sarcastic... I know he has a case... I just wish I had one...

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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lol... I was being sarcastic... I know he has a case... I just wish I had one...

 

Guess I forgot to flip the switch on the sarcasm detector, my fault VG8, but nethertheless that would be my overall general opinion on this fiasco posted in the article OP by MVH. If we end up in that situation in the future (never know, these ruthless managers above our heads nowadays) yeah the civil rights acts protects persons on discrimination based on religion. Indeed, as you are alluding to as well as myself, Mr. Sheikh Ahmed has a solid case.

Edited by realizm

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The name David Forrest....that's my uncle who works out of ENY, prior to this, worked out of Fresh Pond and Grand Ave...I don't hang with him much, but he's always pretty mum about certain things...and him being my uncle, he can be a total prick...

 

The funny thing is that I've heard folks at ENY say how he's a real pushover and a hard-ass. I've been in and out of ENY Depot with him every now and then before but it never seemed like it. But of course, thats when I was with him during those times....but at the 2009 Bus Roadeo.....I heard quite an ear-full from people that worked with him at Fresh Pond and Grand Avenue....

 

I've met the cleaner too, he's pretty chill, but sometimes he was a dick towards his fellow employees...I remember one time he went off on a B/O inside of the depot for leaving an empty soda bottle inside the bus, and by off, I mean he blew a gasket....(not taking any sides, and its irrelevant, I know)

 

I've heard something like this through the pipe drain a while ago, I guess its finally come to light.

Edited by Cait Sith

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My apologies for the my highly critical view of this situation in regards to Mr. Forrest. Shit, I had no idea.......

 

You are not alone. I have a family member who was directly involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit in relation to a nursing home he started a decade ago. (Not my Chinese father, another member of my family on my Indian side of my family) That makes two of us.

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My apologies for the my highly critical view of this situation in regards to Mr. Forrest. Shit, I had no idea.......

 

You are not alone. I have a family member who was directly involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit in relation to a nursing home he started a decade ago. (Not my Chinese father, another member of my family on my Indian side of my family) That makes two of us.

 

No worries, I've heard much worse within the three depots he's worked at.

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Know what? I can forsee now this thread is going to be a mess. This thread needs to be locked so this one can die away in the archives. No point having any member directly involved and stigmatized in this controversial situation ending up tied up in the publicity when he has nothing to do with it. If I was a member here, and that was my uncle I would say family comes first, f**k that I'm locking it, period.

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Know what? I can forsee now this thread is going to be a mess. This thread needs to be locked so this one can die away in the archives. No point having any member directly involved and stigmatized in this controversial situation ending up tied up in the publicity when he has nothing to do with it. If I was a member here, and that was my uncle I would say family comes first, f**k that I'm locking it, period.

 

I wouldn't, everyone has a right to voice their opinions and whatnot. I personally saw this coming a mile away, and if it wasn't from the cleaner, it'd be from someone else in ENY.

 

As for the bolded part....well...as of recent family issues involving him, I could personally care less.

 

So yeah, ya'll can continue with the discussion lol.

  • Upvote 3

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Know what? I can forsee now this thread is going to be a mess. This thread needs to be locked so this one can die away in the archives. No point having any member directly involved and stigmatized in this controversial situation ending up tied up in the publicity when he has nothing to do with it. If I was a member here, and that was my uncle I would say family comes first, f**k that I'm locking it, period.

I don't see why... Hell my uncle is a B/O out of Quill these days and we don't see eye to eye on everything transit related, I can assure you of that.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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So yeah, ya'll can continue with the discussion lol.

 

OK cool. But I'm going to take myself out this discussion then out of my respect for you then. I think that would be the right thing to do but that's just my conscience talking, now that you told us this, I'm officially staying neutral at this point. On to the next thread.

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OK cool. But I'm going to take myself out this discussion then out of my respect for you then. I think that would be the right thing to do but that's just my conscience talking, now that you told us this, I'm officially staying neutral at this point. On to the next thread.

 

Like I said, it's fine. I don't want to have folks go away from a discussion just because he's a family member of mine. We're not even that close anymore as of recent family events.

Edited by Cait Sith
  • Upvote 2

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No worries, I've heard much worse within the three depots he's worked at.

 

Lol! Had no idea about the connection here, very interesting. Anyway, he just might be at another depot in a little while, looking at how this is all going...

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I've always wondered how the MTA dealt with deeply religious people that need days off for holidays (Muslims, Jewish people, etc). Seems like it's difficult to get days off in general, but they have to let people take days off for religious reasons, i guess?

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I don't think they have toile accomidations based on religion when it comes to days off. Before being hired, they let people know that they are expected to work any tour, any day of the week and if they can to that, they don't have to take the job.

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I don't think they have toile accomidations based on religion when it comes to days off. Before being hired, they let people know that they are expected to work any tour, any day of the week and if they can to that, they don't have to take the job.

Got it. I know some very religious muslims that work in the MTA offices, but they get normal vacation days that can be used anytime since they have 9-5 M-F type jobs.

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Oh boy...  <_<  Hey I'm Catholic... I wish I could sue for my for not being able to get certain days that I want off... I think Columbus Day is a holy day but apparently my boss disagrees.  :lol:

What happened to "I get my holidays off"?

 

 

 

The name David Forrest....that's my uncle who works out of ENY, prior to this, worked out of Fresh Pond and Grand Ave...I don't hang with him much, but he's always pretty mum about certain things...and him being my uncle, he can be a total prick...

 

The funny thing is that I've heard folks at ENY say how he's a real pushover and a hard-ass. I've been in and out of ENY Depot with him every now and then before but it never seemed like it. But of course, thats when I was with him during those times....but at the 2009 Bus Roadeo.....I heard quite an ear-full from people that worked with him at Fresh Pond and Grand Avenue....

 

I've met the cleaner too, he's pretty chill, but sometimes he was a dick towards his fellow employees...I remember one time he went off on a B/O inside of the depot for leaving an empty soda bottle inside the bus, and by off, I mean he blew a gasket....(not taking any sides, and its irrelevant, I know)

 

I've heard something like this through the pipe drain a while ago, I guess its finally come to light.

So I have to ask, to your knowledge, is this type of bullshit typical within direct operations or is it only in specific depots/facilities?

 

If it is the former, there is probably more that hasn't reached the surface.

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Turbo19, on 09 Apr 2013 - 22:52, said:

What happened to "I get my holidays off"?

 

 

 

So I have to ask, to your knowledge, is this type of bullshit typical within direct operations or is it only in specific depots/facilities?

 

If it is the former, there is probably more that hasn't reached the surface.

I can't really say since I've not actually been in the depots for a long period of time, but he's always been a stickler and a hard-ass towards his employees. My fam & I always had a feeling that something like this would arise, but not in the form of "Religious Harassment". I know for a fact that my uncle doesn't hate on anyone's religion or race/ethnic background.

 

I tried to see what I can get from him, but he's been pretty mum about the situation (because he thinks I'd tell my fam, but they already knew from the article)

Edited by Cait Sith

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Well don't bother trying to get anything from him, last thing I'd want would be to worsen an already rocky relationship between the two of you. Best to settle it in court.

 

What I really wanted to know if most of the operational staff were hardasses or unfair. If that's the case I and many other would be slightly more sympathetic to the operators and "lower" staff. At the same time however I'd like to see such actions brought to light.

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