New York City Police Department (NYPD) Police Officer Danielle Alamrani, is suing the NYPD and several NYPD officers for, “being discriminated against and retaliated against on the basis of her religion, requests for religious accommodation and complaints of discrimination as well as being searched, seized and arrested without any reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed.” The suit, filed in the US District Court of Southern New York, is seeking, “declaratory and injunctive relief and damages to redress the injuries Plaintiff has suffered” as a result of alleged heinous religious discrimination.
Alamrani’s suit claims that the discrimination began when she, as a devout practicing Muslim, began wearing the Hijab on the job. Prior to making this decision, she “had no problems and was not harassed by coworkers.” A religious accommodation was requested and then granted, legally allowing her to wear the Hijab on the job. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that religious accommodations for dress codes and appearance must be granted if proven to be necessary as a part of a sincerely held religious belief, if they do not present a safety issue (such as “loose garments around machinery”).
The work environment began to deteriorate shortly thereafter when, “immediately after Plaintiff Alamrani began wearing her Hijab in the workplace the environment changed in that her co-workers refused to work with her.” The union representative then informed her that her supervisors did not want her wearing the Hijab and went so far as to tell her she “should not wear the Hijab.”
When this did not have the desired effect, Alamrani was reassigned to less lucrative assignments in a deliberate attempt to retaliate against her religious accommodation request. Increasingly, she was the victim of blatant hateful remarks including pejoratives such as “terrorist” and “Taliban” along with comments about her being a “disgrace to the NYPD” and that “nobody liked her.” This verbal abuse became commonplace, often uttered within hearing of any bystander.
Alamrani eventually reported the harassment and disparity in assignments to her supervisor and an official complaint was filed, resulting in even less desirable work assignments. No action was taken by the department in response to the complaint filed and around Christmas in 2012, according to the lawsuit filed, two fellow officers attacked the plaintiff screaming, “Muslim bitch” and threatening bodily harm while trying to forcefully remove her Hijab. Despite a subsequent investigation, Almrani continued working on the assignment with her attackers enduring nearly constant verbal abuse, the suit claims. As the harassment continued to escalate, disparaging photos of Almarani were posted on social media and culminating in the plaintiff and her husband’s illegal detention and arrest by a fellow officer.
Gothamist reports that,
“A spokesperson for the City Law Department told Gothamist in an email that ‘the law department will review the complaint and respond accordingly.’”