Atlantic Health Systems Inc. can’t avoid a workplace abuse suit filed by an Indian Muslim man, a New Jersey federal judge determined. Maqsood Thange alleged that Atlantic and one of its supervisors created a hostile workplace environment through discriminatory comments.
The case originally included additional claims against a temporary staffing agency, Oxford Global Resources LLC. U.S. District Judge Esther Salas granted summary judgment on claims for racial discrimination and retaliation, but allowed the Atlantic hostile workplace environment claims to move forward.
Thange’s suit alleges that, during a three-month assignment at Atlantic, said coworkers on his team asked if he was hiding a bomb, called him a “jihadi” and told Thange, “no one wants to know what you have to say,” “nobody’s listening (to you)” and no one could “understand your accent.” Thange was terminated “due to complaints about his work performance.” His supervisors overheard these remarks.
The suit claims he was discriminated against for his race, religion and national origin, in violation of the Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
While his coworkers, supervisor and Atlantic Health Systems Inc. deny the allegations, Judge Salas ruled that the testimony created a triable issue of fact, best left to a jury. Similarly, Thange’s lawsuit against King, his supervisor, will continue.
The Oxford claims were dismissed via summary judgment because Oxford played no role in Thange’s termination. In fact, Thange never complained to them about the discrimination until after he was terminated.
While Atlantic tried to argue that he was an independent contractor, not an employee, Judge Salas ruled that Oxford and Atlantic were in fact joint employers.
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