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Sierra Pacific Industries Settles Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Ahmed Elshenawy, a former employee of Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), claimed that he was repeatedly harassed by coworkers following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He is of Egyptian decent and was harassed because of his national origin and the color of his skin, based on a complaint made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Elshenawy complained to his superiors about the workplace harassment and claimed that he was terminated in retaliation for reporting the harassment in 2004. Although SPI claims that his termination was warranted and lawful – they had received three complaints of sexual harassment by Elshenaway – the company recently agreed to a settlement with the EEOC, agreeing to pay Elshenway $95,000 in damages.

Among the workplace harassment he endured, Elshenawy reported being called derogatory names, such as “camel jockey,” and “Osama,” “f—ing Arabian.”

After an investigation into the allegations of workplace harassment and attempt to reach a settlement, the EEOC filed a wrongful termination suit against SPI.

SPI has agreed to train its employees on harassment and discrimination in the workplace as well as to report any future complaints of national origin discrimination to the EEOC.

SPI is a lumber company. It owns 1.9 million acres of forest in California and Washington as well as sawmills in both states. After being fired from SPI, Elshenawy served in the U.S. Army.

Source: Anderson Valley Post, “SPI, EEOC reach settlement on discrimination lawsuit; SPI to pay $95,000 fine,” October 23, 2012

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