A former AT&T employee in Kansas City was awarded $5 million in damages for workplace discrimination, according to sources. Susan Bashir filed the lawsuit against her former employer after her boss pulled a scarf off her head in 2008 and exposed her hair, which is against her religion.
The award is the largest Missouri history for a workplace discrimination suit. $120,000 of the award was for lost wages, the rest was for damages.
According to court documents, Bashir claimed that her work environment turned hostile immediately after she converted to Islam.
“I was shocked. I thought ‘What is going on?’” Bashir told reporters. “Nobody ever cared what I wore before. Nobody ever cared what religion I was before.”
Bashir worked for AT&T in Kansas City for 10 years before she was terminated. She was subjected to a hostile work environment for her final 3 years. Bashir will not receive the entire $5 million due to cap laws in Missouri.
Bashir called an employee help line in 2005 asking to provide her coworkers with sensitivity training—which never came.
“It was a worthless call,” she said. “Nothing ever changed.”
When supervisors do not take these calls seriously, it can result in lawsuits such as this. Hopefully this provides a wakeup call to AT&T and employers everywhere.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—California employment attorneys