OCTOBER 25, 2011
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 presidential election.
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