ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) – Washtenaw County is appealing a nearly $1.2 million verdict in favor of a Muslim man who said he was called a terrorist and repeatedly passed over for promotions.
The verdict was returned in 2014 but it took more than a year to settle post-trial issues in the case of Ali Aboubaker.READ MORE: The Detroit Zoo To Host Its Final Weekend Of Family-Friendly Halloween Event 'Zoo Boo' Oct. 22-24
Detroit federal Judge Denise Page Hood declined to overturn the result. Washtenaw County now wants her to freeze the case while it appeals the award.
Aboubaker, a native of Tunisia, worked for Washtenaw County for 17 years until 2008. Attorney Shereef Akeel said Aboubaker was demoted and bypassed for promotions despite having engineering skills and college degrees.
The treatment allegedly got worse after 9/11, partially because of Aboubaker’s religious mark of manhood, according to Akeel.READ MORE: Tillson Street's Halloween Displays Draws Thousands
“He’s Muslim, he has a scruffy beard down to his chest, he looks like he just came from Afghanistan, he’s African American because Tunisia is in Africa, I mean this man had every strike against him,” he said.
Aboubaker lost everything after he was fired, Akeel said, and was unable to find another job.
“The man lost his house, he was literally homeless, he lost his family and his wife of 26 years. He was destitute,” he said. “If you look at him, he definitely would be profiled, he definitely would be picked out of the line at the airport. He fits the stereotype and he has a big strike against him.”
Aboubaker decided to file a lawsuit claiming employment and religious discrimination. After six long years, judgment day finally came in Feb. 2014 when a jury awarded him $1.1 million, one of the largest discrimination awards for a Muslim.
The county denies any bias and says Aboubaker wasn’t qualified to be drain inspector.MORE NEWS: Kalamazoo Tests For Lead Exposure Following High-Lead Level Reports In Other Michigan Cities
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