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Nashville: Muslim Wins Religious Discrimination Suit
The Tennessean has an update on this story. From Southern Hills' point of view, this employee had 20 days coming to him, but requested 40. He used the EEOC to sue on his behalf on religious grounds and won. Would the EEOC taken the case had it been a Catholic wanting to go to Lourdes? I wonder. And why couldn't he have made it back in twenty days? Or why couldn't he have waited another year or two when he would have had the accumulated time? Why exactly is this a case of religious discrimination? If they hire more Muslims, do they now have to give them as much time as they want off anytime they claim to be going on the hajj? (Thanks to Rosine):
Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville has agreed to pay a former employee $70,000 in damages after denying him time off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca but admitted no wrongdoing when it settled the religious discrimination case on Monday.
In late 2007, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit on behalf of Wali Telwar, a Muslim former Southern Hills medical technician who lives in Nashville.
The hospital refused to allow Telwar to use just over 20 days of accumulated vacation time to take a trip to Mecca. Every Muslim is required to make the hajj — a pilgrimage to the Saudi Arabian birthplace of the Islamic religion and its prophet — in their lifetime.
Telwar, who had worked at the hospital for three years, also claimed he was told that if he insisted on attending the hajj he would have to quit his job and reapply when he returned.
Telwar resigned, according to the suit. When he returned, Southern Hills did not rehire him. The hospital hired three other medical technicians.
Southern Hills released a statement from CEO Tom Ozburn late Wednesday:
"As noted in the consent decree, we deny that we discriminated in any way against Mr. Telwar," Ozburn said in the statement. "We have reached a settlement with the EEOC to close this matter...