Two ex-workers sue Sears for discrimination, claiming they were fired because they are Muslims

Two former employees at the Sears store at the Rockaway Townsquare mall are suing the Sears company for discrimination, claiming they were fired because they are Muslims.

The suit, filed in Superior Court in Essex County by Shams Uddin of Bloomfield and Samiha Mitwally from the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson, seeks damages against Sears for “wrongfully terminating” the pair and allegedly violating the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Mitwally also claims an assistant manager “committed an assault” on her by “getting in her face and yelling in an extremely threatening manner,” although she was not physically hit.

The suit says that Uddin, who had worked for Sears since 2008, and Mitwally, who had worked there since 2002, had both been “exemplary” employees. Both were terminated on Aug. 24 for giving customers discount coupons prepared by Sears, according to Parsippany attorney Anthony Macri, who is representing both Uddin and Mitwally. Both are Muslims and they were “the only two fired,” even though other employees were “doing the same thing,” he added.

The pair, who worked as cashiers and as salespeople, had been “generally mistreated while on the job, especially during the last couple months,” Macri said. “I suspect there was a relatively new person working there in a position of power who is prejudiced against Muslims,” Macri said, adding that the person may have been the same assistant manager who threatened Mitwally.

“It’s obviously an egregious act to fire someone because of their religious beliefs and their ethnic background,” Macri added. “It shouldn’t be tolerated.”

A Sears spokesman was unable to comment on the lawsuit today.

Star-Ledger, 30 September 2013