SMART Accused Of Civil Rights Violation In Case Of Iraqi Employee

DETROIT (WWJ) – The Michigan Civil Rights Commission says the SMART bus system violated the civil rights of an employee.

Following a hearing on the matter, the Commission has ruled in favor of a SMART bus mechanic of Iraqi descent who says he was insulted and threatened by coworkers because of his background.

The commission said Thursday that SMART’s attempts to address 50-year-old Marzyn Barash’s complaints quote “were feeble and terribly ineffective at correcting the problem.”

According to an opinion and order issued by the Commission, Barash, who is an American citizen, was subjected to workplace discrimination including, but not limited to: threatening phone calls, a poster depicting a camel in cross-heirs, with words “I’d fly 10,000 miles to smoke a camel”; a letter referring to him as a sand N-word; a co-worker calling him a “rag-head” and wearing a towel on his own head; a co-worker telling him he wished could kill all Iraqis; and co-workers telling him he has sex with camels and is a “Saddam lover.”

– View a copy of the opinion and order –

The commission will now look at the issue of damages.

SMART has declined to comment on the case.


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