Muslim guard gets $465K in Calif. harassment suit

January 25, 2012 - 3:35 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A jury awarded $465,000 to a Muslim security guard who says his co-workers and supervisors called him a terrorist and an al-Qaida member.

Jurors added $400,000 in punitive damages Monday to their earlier award of $65,000 to Abas Idris for lost wages and emotional distress, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/wh5c8Y ) Wednesday.

The jury found that Los Angeles-based Andrews International was responsible for harassment and a hostile work environment experienced by the 27-year-old Idris.

An attorney for Andrews, Madonna Herman, said the company had promoted Idris to a supervisory position and accommodated his requests for changes to his schedule. It plans to appeal the verdict.

"Andrews does not condone discrimination or harassment of any kind," Herman said in a statement.

Idris claimed a supervisor told him that Muslims kill people and that a fellow security guard referred to him in a conversation with a co-worker as a "goddamn terrorist" and an al Qaeda member who couldn't be trusted.

Idris, who traces his heritage to the east African nation of Eritrean, also said an office manager once told him not to zip up his black rain jacket because he looked "too black."

Idris quit his job at Andrews in February 2010 after the company failed to take his complaints about harassment seriously, he said.

The case allowed him to show that Islam is a religion of peace, he said.

___

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com