Court Dismisses Muslim Harrassment Suit

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has dismissed a suit by a Saudi Arabian Muslim plaintiff who worked as a child care attendant at the Cook County Circuit Court, and who claimed that her supervisor harrassed her because she wore a headscarf, that he prayed with other employees, and that he referred to other employees as “good Christians.”  The plaintiff brought Establishment and Free Exercise Clause claims, and both were dismissed.  On the establishment front, the court held that there was no allegation of a “governmental policy or practice underlying the alleged misconduct at issue in this case or any entanglement by any governmental entity with religion or preference of any religion by a governmental entity.”  As for free exercise, the court held that the only fact related to this claim in the complaint was an allegation that one of the defendants on one occasion denied the plaintiff time off for an Islamic religious observance.  This was insufficient to make out a free exercise violation.

The case is Huri v. Circuit Court of Cook County, 2012 WL 1431268 (N.D. Ill. April 25, 2012).

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