Lawsuit: CO faced Islamophobic harassment for race, religion
A former employee at Jackson’s Parnall Correctional Facility alleges he was subjected to consistent racism at work
By Marie Weidmayer
Citizen Patriot, Jackson, Mich.
JACKSON, Mich. – A former employee at Jackson’s Parnall Correctional Facility alleges he was subjected to consistent racism at work, according to a lawsuit he filed against the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Hazim Yehia, is a Muslim and an Arab American, who lives in Jackson County. He joined MDOC in March 2015 and the harassment started right away, the federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, July 9, in Michigan Eastern District Court said.
Yeahia’s coworkers would hide pork in his food and watch him eat it, the lawsuit states. Pork is not allowed to be eaten under Islamic practices.
His coworkers would also make statements implying he was a terrorist associated with ISIS, and Yehia would be asked if he was wearing a bomb vest and if he had the parts to make a bomb, the lawsuit states.
Shift commander Capt. Frank Sawyer, a defendant in the lawsuit, also allegedly asked Yehia to blow the facility up on a day Sawyer was not at work, so that Yehia would not “kill him during the explosion,” according to the lawsuit.
When Yehia reported the harassment to supervisors, nothing changed, he said in the lawsuit. In fact, Yehia left the department because of retaliation after he reported incidents, the lawsuit states.
“Because of his race and religion, (Yehia) has been and continues to be subjected to treatment during his career with Defendant MDOC that has been disparate from that accorded to non-Arab American and non-Muslim co-workers of Defendant MDOC and at the facility to which Plaintiff is assigned, who have been treated more favorably than Plaintiff,” according to the lawsuit.
The Michigan Department of Corrections does not comment on pending litigation, Spokesperson Chris Gautz said.
©2019 Citizen Patriot, Jackson, Mich.