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Muslim Prison Guard Sues California, Corrections System For Harassment

ElhindiContinuous mocking and harassment by co-workers has led a Muslim prison guard in California to file a lawsuit against the state and correction officials.

Elsiddig Elhindi, who was born in Sudan, claims his race and religion were reasons he was constantly bothered on the job, and he wants the accusers and California to pay for the harassment.

This lawsuit adds to the tumult of the overcrowded California corrections system, which is having difficulty meeting court-ordered demands to improve medical and mental healthcare since 2009.

In the court papers, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, lawyers for Elhindi, who has worked for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation since 2002, say the harassment increased after Elhindi filed complaints both internally and with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the lawsuit.

“While we understand most work environments come with some level of joking and personal banter, employers must protect employees who become subjected to severe and pervasive harassment by their co-workers,” said Brice Hamack of the Northern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Elhindi.

“When the State of California and the CDCR failed to protect Mr. Elhindi from harassment based on his religion, race and national origin, as well as from retaliation for seeking protection against such harassment, they violated his civil rights,” Hamack said.

Elhindi now works in Vacaville. Dana Simas, a CDCR spokeswoman, said, “I can tell you that CDCR is an extremely diverse organization and we’d expect every employee to be treated with respect and fairness.”

In the lawsuit, Elhindi said his co-workers constantly suggested that he was a terrorist because of his religion, mocked Islam and its teachings and used racial slurs in his presence.


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