Submitted by: Kurt J Fitsch
Public School Dist. To Pay Muslim Teacher Over Mecca Trip
Last Updated: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 1:42pm
A public school district in the U.S. must pay a Muslim teacher tens of
thousands of dollars and establish a religious accommodation training
program for refusing to let the instructor take three weeks off to make a
pilgrimage to Mecca.
The settlement marks the conclusion of the first lawsuit filed by Obama's
Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of a pilot program designed to ensure
"vigorous enforcement" of civil rights in the workplace. "Employees should
not have to choose between practicing their religion and their jobs," said
Thomas Perez, the open borders advocate Obama appointed as Assistant
Attorney General for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.
The math teacher (Safoorah Khan) sued the Berkeley Illinois district when
her middle school denied the leave request because she was the only math lab
instructor and her absence would come at a crucial time right before exams.
To further back its case, the district pointed out that the union contract
did not allow that sort of leave for any teacher.
So Khan, who had worked at McArthur Middle School for barely a year,
resigned and sued the district for religious discrimination. The DOJ's
bloated civil rights division quickly moved to help her. In a December
lawsuit, the DOJ accuses the Berkeley School District of violating Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate Khan's
religious practices. By denying Khan a "religious accommodation", the
district compelled Khan to choose between her job and her religious beliefs,
the DOJ claimed.
Feeling the wrath of the powerful and much wealthier federal government, the
district agreed this month to pay Khan $75,000 for lost back pay,
compensatory damages and attorney's fees. It also caved into the DOJ's
demand of creating a new "religious accommodation policy" to "reasonably
accommodate the religious beliefs, practices and/or observances of all
employees and prospective employees."
The new program will also provide mandatory training on religious
accommodation to all board of education members, supervisors, managers,
administrators and human resources officials who participate in decisions on
religious accommodation requests made by its employees and prospective
employees. "We are pleased that Berkeley School District has agreed to
implement a training program that puts into place an interactive process to
ensure that each request for a religious accommodation will be considered on
a case-by-case basis and granted if it poses no undue hardship on the school
district," Perez said.
A former Maryland Labor Secretary, Perez has made a number of controversial
moves at the DOJ to protect minorities, including illegal immigrants. In
June he ordered Colorado to protect the interests of "language minority
populations" by strengthening a Court Interpreter Oversight Committee that
assures immigrants who don't speak English get free translators. Before that
he launched an initiative to eliminate written tests that discriminate
against minorities in the workplace and sued a public college system for
discrimination because it requires job applicants to furnish proof of
residency before getting hired.
Last year Perez lied to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to cover up that
political leadership was behind the dismissal of the voter intimidation case
against the New Black Panther Party. Judicial Watch obtained records that
prove top political appointees were intimately involved in the decision to
drop charges against the radical black revolutionary group for bullying
voters with racial insults, profanity and weapons during the 2008