Legal Question in Discrimination Law in Illinois

I have been facing troubles at work due to jokes and comments made about me, where I come from (Palestine and being Arab), and my religion (Muslim). My manager is the the one who is making those jokes, then the sales consultants started as well. Last incident was Just 2 days ago.

I have send an e mail to the HR person at work 4 days ago and I have received no reply. I also went to the EEOC office yesterday and asked to file a charge, I made an appointment for next Tuesday.

I talked to a colleague of mine who was there saw and heard the jokes and he will testify and say the truth.

Below I put a few comments and Jokes with details so you can have a better idea.

I am writing to see if you think I have a case at all and what your advice is.

Thank you.

some of the comments that have been made and by who:

1- This happened on Saturday May 15th while standing on the sales tower discussing a deal.

L. said to me '' look at Bin Laden here''. Of course everybody laughed as he was pointing out and implying that Bin Laden and I are Arabs and Muslims, and I am a terrorist like him.

J. (The manager) then said: ''ohhh this is derogatory ahahahaha'' continuing the joke instead of stopping it.

I didn't say a word and just left. There was L, J, O, and E standing there.

2- this happened a day before: I was talking to my manager about how old I was and how old he was. He said: '' I was born on 9/11/1979. yes, 9/11 that's why I like you buddy hahahaha''

3- this happened about 10 days before:

when B the porter died, J, A (both managers), and I were speaking about it, I was shocked of the fact that he died while we were working together a few days before. J says:'' I won't be surprised if someone else dies here soon, You, at least will get 40 virgins when you die ahahahaha''. Again making a joke of me being a Muslim and even the religion itself and its believes. A, the general manager was there laughing as well and he said:'' I studied the Quran, you have to have a cause to get the 40 virgins''

4- this happenes maybe a few days earlier,

standing at the sales tower, O (the manager) was making the same kind of jokes, M was there and said: '' could go report you for racist profiling''. O said: '' you buddy if you report me, you will see 2 black suburbans outside waiting for you''. when I asked what does that mean, he said: '' The FBI will come arrest you Osama''.

5- this happened probably the same day or a day before:

I had my lunch in a bag going to the lunch room, I ran into O, he said to me: '' what is with paper bag and back packs and your people, eh?" and laughing, emplying that there is a bomb there in my lunch bag

Asked on 5/22/13, 7:57 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Chen Kasher Chen Kasher

I'm sorry to hear about what has been happening to you. Some of your co-workers sound ignorant. First, I assume that you have not had any negative employment action as a result of this harassment, such as lost wages or no promotion.

The smart thing to do is to try to correct the issues by speaking with HR and management like you did. The EEOC explains some of this on its website:

I'd also read the company policy carefully and document your complaints with HR/employer, as well as any steps you took to remedy the situation. If the harassment doesn't stop after you complain and the employer acts, then you may have a case.

Disclaimer: I am not your attorney and this is not necessarily advice.

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Answered on 5/22/13, 9:51 pm

Betty Tsamis Tsamis Law Firm PC

What you describe is unlawful workplace harassment even though you have not yet had "adverse" job action taken against you. You should seriously consider contacting an experienced employment attorney. Our firm would be happy to discuss your situation with you and provide you with an initial consultation.

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Answered on 5/23/13, 4:22 am

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