A Muslim woman has filed for a federal discrimination lawsuit in Alexandria, to a northern Virginia company after her request of two 5-minute breaks made her off from the company’s hiring list.
According to Shahin Indorewala, she had applied at Fast Track Management Inc., a marketing company, in September of last year for a junior management position. After getting a second interview by the assistant manager, she explained the company’s benefits - once including having a daily two-hour lunch break.
Indorewala told in a report last Wednesday to the Fast Track officers: "I said, 'That's kind of a long lunch break, but is it possible for me to take a shorter lunch break and instead take five minutes throughout the day to pray.”
Right after the request, she was brought to CEO Ramses Gavilondo who had humiliated her in public in front of other Fast Track employees and job applicants.
"He pointed to my head scarf and he was making all sorts of hand movements and becoming very loud," Indorewala recalled, and was told by Gavilondo. "He was just like 'Religion, we don't want that here. We don't want these religious shenanigans here.' "
"I felt very humiliated, but first I was just shocked ... am I really being made fun of because of my religion in public? I was pretty hurt and pretty embarrassed." She said.
The CEO had said in defense in a report from NBC Washington that she “wanted to preach her religion," and that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had also investigated the allegations and found no wrongdoing, albeit this had not been confirmed yet by an agency spokesman.
"We ask people to keep religion to themselves," said Gavilondo, the head of the Falls Church company. "I don't see the need for religious preaching in the 21st century."
"Two five-minute prayer breaks don't pose any type of burden on an employer. Those breaks can be taken in a private area without disturbing anyone," Zanah Ghalawanji, the victim’s lawyer, said. "Fast Track has absolutely no basis for what they did."