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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Iraqi Claims Job Bias In Ohio: Court Rules He Was Properly Canned

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A federal appeals court says Campbell Soup Supply Co. was within its rights to can Sarmad Abdulnour, an Iraqi national who worked at the company's NW Ohio plant. Abdulnour contended he was dismissed due to hostility over the war in his homeland. But the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said the Iraqi was sacked because he was an incompetent supervisor, and noted Campbell Soup had taken steps to protect him from harassment.

The complete-text of the six-page decision (pdf) is available here. U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley, who sat on the three-judge panel and wrote its decision, noted that Abdulnour filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The complaint was rejected. Marbley said there were discussions about the Iraq war at the Campbell Soup plant in Napoleon, which is the company's largest factory.

"Contrary to plaintiff's assertions, the fact that employees discussed the ongoing war in Iraq during their lunch break does not make it more likely than not that Defendants fired him because he is Iraqi. The ongoing war is a common topic of discussion among the citizens of this country. Furthermore, plaintiff stated that he never heard any disparaging comments toward him based on his nationality and, in fact, the record reflects that his supervisors took proactive steps to stop potential harassment."

Marbley ruled the fired Iraqi supervisor had failed to put forth any evidence that he was dismissed for a reason other than poor job performance.

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