Muslim mechanic files complaint over firing

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Muslim advocacy group has filed a civil rights complaint with state officials alleging a Metro Detroit man faced discrimination at a transportation company because of his religion.

While training as a mechanic at the Metro Cars site in Taylor this year, the employee heard numerous remarks on the shop floor denouncing Muslims, immigrants and other minorities, said Amy Doukoure, staff attorney with the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

After the worker mentioned his religious dietary restrictions during a luncheon, she said, “he was disciplined almost every week.”

A review of his personnel file showed the corrections followed after working with another employee he claims made offensive remarks disparaging minorities, Doukoure said. That other worker went to a supervisor and “made a lot of allegations that he couldn’t find my client or believed that my client was using his phone — pure speculation and a lot of assumptions about what he may or may not have been doing.”

The Muslim worker did not report having problems before disclosing his religion and believes he was terminated in July as a result, Doukoure said.

He turned to CAIR-MI, which on Wednesday filed a formal complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, which investigates and works to resolve such incidents.

“At no time should individuals have to work in an environment of racism and bigotry, nor should they fear termination solely on the basis of their religion,” Doukoure said.

Metro Cars has operated since 1990 and is the “exclusive airport transportation provider at both Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids,” according to its website.

Company officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday night.