This past month, your legal team at CAIR-SFBA was active within the community in assisting individuals by providing direct legal services leading to timely representation and advocacy on a whole host of issues ranging from employment discrimination, travel complaints to filing asylum applications.
Most notably, in October, CAIR-SFBA filed a religious discrimination complaint against Samsung on behalf of a Muslim job applicant.
The applicant interviewed with Samsung personnel at the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center in October 2017. During a crucial interview with a senior executive at Samsung, the complainant alleges he was told, “this is probably going to bother you because of your background because I know Muslims don’t drink, but drinking is a big part of our culture here. The team goes out and it is super important to the team. The other director and I often go out to drink with the team until 2 a.m. and then pass out in the office and then get up at 7 and work again, and it’s important to the team, so you might be a bad fit because we get ‘silly’ when we drink and you do not drink.”
The interviewer continued, “I’m not going to force you to drink, but will you have an issue?” The applicant was startled by the reference to his religion and explicit commentary that his religion would make a poor fit for the job, but responded, “No, you guys do whatever you want to do.” He was also asked questions revolving around his national origin during the interview. The applicant was also problematically not presented with any questions about or opportunity to discuss his education and work experiences pertaining to his ability to perform the job, as any interviewee would expect. The day after the interview, the applicant was informed he was not selected for the position.
CAIR-SFBA is currently representing the complainant in his complaint to California’s Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) claiming impermissible employment discrimination by Samsung, when he was asked about his religion and national origin by one of their interviewers, and then denied a job opportunity because of his actual and perceived sincerely-held religious beliefs.
If you or anyone you know have been targets of workplace or employment-related bias incidents, please report these occurrences to CAIR-SFBA’s Civil Rights & Legal Services Department by visiting bit.ly/cairsfbareport.
Ammad Rafiqi, Esq.
Civil Rights & Legal Services Coordinator