BROOKLYN FEDERAL JURY AWARDS OSAMA SALEH, A YEMENI-AMERICAN, $4.765 MILLION IN DISCRIMINATION CASE
Clothing Store Employee Was Assaulted by Co-Worker Who Continually Mocked His Ethnic Origin and Religion, While Supervisor Witnessed Attacks but Failed to Take Any Disciplinary Action
Frederick K. Brewington of The Law Office of Frederick K. Brewington announced that his client, Osama Saleh, was recently awarded $4.765 million against his former employer. The jury found that Mr. Saleh constantly faced discrimination, verbal and physical abuse and intimidation at the place where he worked and his supervisor, who was well aware of Mr. Saleh’s complaints, failed to take any disciplinary action against Mr. Saleh’s co-worker. The existence of a hostile work environment based on race, ethnicity and religion was allowed to continue despite knowledge by the supervisor and Pretty Girl, Inc.
Mr. Saleh, a 28-year-old Yemeni-born American citizen and a practicing Muslim, was employed at Pretty Girl, Inc., a women’s clothing store, from 2006 to 2007. His supervisor, Albert Hamra, witnessed another employee, James Robinson, abuse Mr. Saleh and made offensive comments about Mr. Saleh’s religion, national origin, and race, but did not use his authority to put an end Mr. Robinson’s treatment of Mr. Saleh. The jury also found that Mr. Saleh had complained to Mr. Hamra about this numerous times, but the issues were never resolved. The failure to supervise, train and discipline were apparent and the Jury ruled that Pretty Girl, Inc. failed in all those areas.
Mr. Robinson made disparate remarks to Mr. Saleh that included, but were not limited to, “bin Laden”; “Go back to your country”; “I hate Arabs”; “Dirty Muslim”; “Why are you here, you’re not American”; “Dirty Arab”; and “Muslim Terrorist,” and made Mr. Saleh concerned for his own physical and emotional well-being. Mr. Robinson also physically threatened Mr. Saleh, causing him to fear for his safety. When Mr. Saleh demanded to Mr. Hamra that Mr. Robinson be transferred, Mr. Hamra refused to ensure Mr. Saleh’s safety and discipline Mr. Robinson for his actions.
On September 6, 2007, Mr. Robinson – without explanation – punched Mr. Saleh, leaving him unconscious. When Mr. Saleh regained consciousness, Mr. Robinson was standing over him in an intimidating and threatening manner. Fearing for his life and safety, Mr. Saleh got up and ran to Mr. Hamra to report what happened and tell him to call the police because he was the victim of a hate crime. Mr. Robinson said Mr. Saleh was lying, saying he never assaulted him. When Mr. Hamra refused to call the police, Mr. Saleh called his father, who arranged to have him transported to a hospital.
Mr. Saleh was brought to Wychoff Heights Medical Center by ambulance and stayed at the hospital for one week. The physical injuries included a fracture in his Zygomatic arch, which required open reduction surgery with internal fixation. As a result of his injuries, Mr. Saleh suffers from constant tearing of the left eye, pain and limitation in chewing food and the ability to open his mouth wide open, migraines, the inability to sleep on the left side of his face, and recurring hearing problems, along with other medical complications, symptoms and conditions.
Mr. Robinson pled guilty to a criminal charge of assault. Rather than terminating or disciplining Mr. Robinson, the store transferred him to another location.
On June 6, after a five-day trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn awarded Mr. Saleh a verdict of $4.765 million. The jury found Mr. Saleh was a victim of discrimination and assault and was forced to work under a hostile work environment.
“We are glad to see Mr. Saleh receive this monetary award, which he can use towards his medical bills for his long-term care,” Mr. Brewington said. “What was worse than Mr. Robinson’s appalling behavior towards our client was Mr. Hamra’s inaction on a situation that he allowed to grow out of control. As a result, Mr. Saleh was allowed to be emotionally and physically abused at the hands of his co-worker.”
For more information, call (516) 489-6959 or visit www.brewingtonlaw.com.