Fake hate in the workplace. How many of these frivolous lawsuits have netted Muslims big cash or cost Americans their jobs? Source: Orange County deputies did not harass Muslim colleague, jury decides – Orlando Sentinel h/t TROP
A group of Orange County deputies did not harass a fellow deputy because he is Muslim, a federal jury decided Monday.
Waleed Albakri had sued the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked from 2008 to 2014, alleging that co-workers called him a “terrorist,” among other derogatory terms, and started a criminal investigation against him because of his religion.
“The sheriff is pleased with the outcome,” the county’s attorney, Mark Levitt, said Monday evening. “The jury quickly recognized that Mr. Albakri’s claim was totally without merit.”
He was fired from the Sheriff’s Office in 2014 after being arrested on insurance-fraud charges, which prosecutors later dropped.
The jury on Monday sided with the Sheriff’s Office after about an hour and a half of deliberations, finding no harassment because of race, religion or national origin.
Levitt argued Albakri was the one making jokes and said he didn’t complain about feeling uncomfortable until two years later.
“Who’s the one making light of being Arab?” he asked the jury during his closing argument. “You shouldn’t dish it out if you can’t take it.”
But Albakri’s attorney said his client was just making the jokes to fit in. One time, he said, a co-worker checked him “for bombs” when he came to work.
“He didn’t welcome it,” attorney Peter Helwig said. “It made him feel very uncomfortable.”
Albakri filed an internal complaint with the Office of Professional Standards in August 2014, saying the Sheriff’s Office was a hostile workplace. He was working undercover in a drug and prostitution unit.
Two months later, deputies arrested him and accused him of staging a burglary the previous year to collect renter’s insurance, records show. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges when Albakri went into a pretrial diversion program.