Tuesday, October 25, 2016


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A federal appellate court has ruled against the Obama administration’s claims that firing a black woman for wearing dreadlocks constitutes racial discrimination and the government agency representing the employee poses an interesting question: Would a woman wearing a hijab face the same fate? The answer is no.

Muslims have more rights in the U.S. workplace than African Americans, it seems.

In the aftermath of several rulings protecting Muslim rights to wear religious head covers on the job, a black woman is being prohibited from sporting a hairstyle that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.

That constitutes racial discrimination, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws. The agency filed the case in 2013 on behalf of an Alabama woman, Chastity Jones, who was told by an insurance claims processing company to cut her dreadlocks—long clumps of ungroomed hair, symbolizing the mane of the Lion of Judah—as part of its grooming policy. The EEOC argued that the company, Catastrophe Management Solutions, committed racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In announcing the lawsuit, the agency’s regional attorney in Birmingham said the litigation didn’t seek to attack policies requiring employees to maintain hair in a professional, neat or conservative manner but rather focus “on the racial bias that may occur when specific hair constructs and styles are singled out for different treatment because they do not conform to normative standers for other races.”

The EEOC’s district director pointed out that “generally, there are racial distinctions in the natural texture of black and non-black hair. The EEOC will not tolerate employment discrimination against African-American employees because they choose to wear and display the natural texture of their hair, manage and style their hair in a manner amenable to it, or manage and style their hair in a manner differently from non-blacks.”

A federal judge in Alabama didn’t buy the government’s seemingly far-fetched argument and in 2014 dismissed the race discrimination suit, finding that the company’s hairstyle policy did not violate federal anti-discrimination law. In his ruling the judge, Charles R. Butler, wrote that since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act only prohibits discrimination based on unchangeable characteristics, like sex and race, the company didn’t violate the law by banning the hairstyle.

The Obama administration appealed and this month the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Alabama judge’s decision, rejecting Jones’s right to keep the dreadlocks. The appellate court found that Catastrophe Management Solutions has a “race-neutral grooming policy” and that hairstyles are not “immutable physical characteristics,” though the court acknowledged they could be “culturally associated with race.”

On the EEOC’s twitter account, which is embedded in the agency’s official website, an official comments on the Jones case: “I wonder if a woman who wore a hijab would have been asked to not wear that when coming to work?” The EEOC post was written by a black official named Michelle Adams, who also includes a clip from a 1990s television comedy sitcom because it reminds her of Jones’s “choice to fight” the dreadlock ban (the reality is that taxpayers funded the fight because a federal agency represented Jones). In the TV clip a black male employee tells white managers that his hair is not just for fashion. “It’s part of my heritage,” the actor says. “It’s a statement of pride.”

The question comparing dreadlocks to hijabs was rhetorical because the EEOC employee knows Muslims have a legal right to wear religious head covers at work thanks to litigation initiated by her agency. Judicial Watch has reported on some of the cases, including a 2013 federal court ruling that a Muslim woman’s civil rights were violated by an American clothing retailer that didn’t allow her to wear a hijab at work. As it has in other instances, the EEOC accused the retailer of religious discrimination under the Civil Rights Act and a federal judge agreed.

In the ruling the judge wrote that the retailer acted with malice and reckless indifference by forcing the Muslim woman to remove her hijab, even though it had a company-wide policy prohibiting all types head cover.

The religious rights argument has also been used by the EEOC on behalf of dreadlocks. Over the summer the EEOC sued a private business for religious discrimination after it ordered a male employee to cut his dreadlocks. The man, a prep cook in central Florida, is Rastafari and the “Afrocentric” religion born in the slums of Jamaica requires followers to have long, matted and knotted hair. Judicial Watch will monitor the outcome of the case, which was filed in July. There is no formal, organized leadership in Rastafarianism which makes it difficult to accept as an official religion protected by federal law.

Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie, the former emperor of Ethiopia, is God and that he’ll help blacks living in exile as a result of the slave trade return to Africa. Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley, who died in Miami in 1981, was among the best known Rastafarians and more recently a famous rapper known as Snoop Dogg became Rastafari and changed his name to Snoop Lion, according to a mainstream news report. “A key belief for Rastas is the notion of death to all white and black oppressors,” the story says, adding that “the most common outward expressions of Rastafari are Rastas’ dreadlocks, penchant for smoking marijuana and vegetarian diets.”

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muslim rights

In the aftermath of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks the Obama administration has issued a new warning regarding workplace discrimination “against individuals who are, or perceived to be, Muslim or Middle Eastern.”

American businesses are to accommodate the religious needs of Muslims and assure that they aren’t being harassed or intimidated, states the order which was issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the bloated federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws. Those who don’t oblige will be prosecuted by the administration for violating federal law, specifically Title VII of the Civil Right Act which prohibits discrimination on the bases of religion.

“The attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, in late 2015 and other recent world events have heightened concerns about workplace protections for all employees, including individuals who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim or Middle Eastern,” the EEOC asserts in its recently issued document. “Discrimination in the workplace based on religion, national origin, or race is strictly prohibited by federal and state laws. Reactions in the workplace to world events demand increased efforts by employers to prevent discrimination.” EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang refers to Muslims as “vulnerable communities” that need protection “even as we grapple with the concerns raised by the recent terrorist attacks.”

In the last few years the administration has sued a number of U.S. businesses for violating Muslim civil rights under Title VII, including companies in Nebraska, California and Colorado for not accommodating prayer breaks and forbidding Islamically-mandated headscarves (hijabs) on the job. Just a few months ago the EEOC helped two Muslim truck drivers working for an American company in the U.S. get hefty settlements after being fired for refusing to transport alcohol because it violates their religious beliefs. American taxpayers pick up the tab for all this litigation, which is conducted in federal courts throughout the nation.

Though the effort to protect Muslim rights in the American workforce was launched the day Obama became commander-in-chief, the administration drove home the point after the San Bernardino massacre by two Islamic terrorists. The new warning urges employers and employees to be particularly mindful of instances of harassment, intimidation or discrimination against Muslims and reminds businesses that accommodations for Muslim workers don’t just include time off for religious holidays but also “exceptions to dress and grooming codes.” Even if a situation does not amount to illegal harassment under federal law, the mandate asks employers to intervene in order to protect Muslim rights.

The document includes two attachments, in question-and-answer format, with hypothetical instances of discrimination. The first is geared towards employers and features two fictitious characters, Aliyyah and Susan, that encountered prejudice for their “religious attire.” An assistant manager at the store where Aliyyah applied to be a cashier believed her religious attire would make customers uncomfortable and Susan’s hijab violated an office dress code. Both instances constitute civil rights violations, according to the EEOC. The employer section also includes hypotheticals involving an Arab American named Muhammad and a Muslim named John who are harassed by colleagues about their religion.

The portion aimed at employees makes similar points with an added flare of drama. In that version the woman wearing the hijab was offered a bakery job over the phone but the manager appeared “startled” by her appearance and hired someone else. “In your situation, it appears that you were sent home because the employer had a negative reaction to your hijab, which you wear for religious reasons,” the new EEOC document asserts. A genderless Muslim character also complains about a coworker seeking “long discussions about Islam, ISIS and terrorism.” It’s possible the employer may not be helpful or might not see it as a problem at all, the EEOC concludes, encouraging Muslims that find themselves in these situations to file discrimination charges with the agency “at any time.”

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A Muslim flight attendant has filed a discrimination complaint against ExpressJet Airlines, claiming they violated her religious beliefs–by suspending her when she refused to serve alcohol.

“We have informed ExpressJet of its obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate Ms. Stanley’s religious accommodation request regarding service of alcohol,” said Lena Masri, staff attorney for the Michigan chapter of the Council on America-Islamic Relations, who is leading the lawsuit, in a statement.

“Instead, ExpressJet has deliberately chosen to violate Ms. Stanley’s constitutional rights.”

Stanley initially worked out an arrangement, as directed by ExpressJet’s management, where other flight attendants would accommodate passengers’ requests for alcohol.

But that system ended on August 25, when ExpressJet placed Stanley on a 12 month administrative leave, after which they would retain the option to fire her. The administrative leave was based on a complaint by a fellow employee, though it’s not clear exactly what that complaint was.

Islam forbids Muslims from drinking or, for those with a more conservative bent, even selling alcohol.

For her part, Stanley claims that, “I don’t think that I should have to choose between practicing my religion properly or earning a living… I shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other, because they’re both important.”

Of course, serving drinks and selling alcohol is a key part of a flight attendant’s job–and if Stanley had such a big problem with that, perhaps she’s in the wrong line of work. Religious accommodation doesn’t mean you can take a job and refuse to do it because of religion.

So far, liberals have been bending over backwards to carve out exemptions and protect the rights of Muslims to practice their religion however they see fit. Ludicrously, theyy using the same arguments they rejected as discriminatory when they came from Christian bakers earlier this year, over gay marriage.

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Give Michelle Obama credit where credit is due. While a number of prominent liberal politicians have used the recent race riots in Baltimore–a city with a black mayor, black city council, and a large number of black police officers–to bemoan so-called “white privilege,” Michelle struck a different tune.

In essence, she told the graduating class at historically-black Tuskegee University in Alabama they essentially had to stop complaining and get over it.

She starts by addressing that, in essence, there still is some discrimination in America today:

“Those nagging worries that you’re gonna get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason. The fear that your job application will be overlooked because of the way your name sounds. The agony of sending your kids to schools that may no longer be separate, but are far from equal. All of that, it’s gonna be a heavy burden to carry.”

But while these continue to be problems, she told them not to use this as an excuse for low expectations.

“I want to be very clear that those feelings are not an excuse to just throw up our hands and give up. They are not an excuse to lose hope. To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose.”

Of course, Michelle Obama’s husband has presided over a yawning wealth gap when it comes to blacks vs. whites–hindered by the record number of blacks not in the work force, and a record number of blacks on welfare.

Michelle’s sentiment is right: there’s still some discrimination in this country, but burning down Baltimore isn’t going to fix anything. The next generation of black leaders are going to have to just work hard and not excuse poverty and the breakdown of the black family, but rise above it.

It remains to be seen if liberals will put their money where their mouth is–or whether they’ll continue to talk shallowly about “white privilege” as they continue to give hand-outs, rather than a leg up, to the African-American community.

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Considering the Middle East’s appalling treatment of women and Jews, this might go down as the least shocking news ever.

Al Jazeera America–the news service owned by the Royal Family of Qatar–is facing a $15 million lawsuit for discriminating against (you guessed it) women and Jews.

A former employee, Matthew Luke, who started working for the network back in 2013, filed the lawsuit in New York on Tuesday.

He alleges that his supervisor, Osman Mahmud, the senior vice president of broadcast operations, engaged in systematic discrimination.

Mahmud allegedly removed female employees from projects, cut them out of emails and meetings, and made heinous anti-Semitic remarks, like, “Whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.”

What, your boss never condemned you to the pits of hell for your political beliefs?

Luke went to HR, where he says he was told he wasn’t a good cultural fit and fired. Presumably because he supported Israel but did not want to die a fiery death.

Al Jazeera America launched in late 2013, after buying Al Gore’s seldom-watched Current TV.

But while Current TV was infamous for its inability to attract more than a handful of viewers, Al Jazeera America has done even worse. Shortly after their launch, they were attracting just 13,000 viewers a day–ratings so low that the Nielsen Ratings just declared them a “scratch” and eventually stopped reporting altogether.

Since then, they’ve been laying off workers left and right, and apparently condemning other ones to death.

Al Jazeera America had no comment on the pending lawsuit, except to underline how much it loves women and Jews. Like the rest of the Middle East.



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