Apple Lawyer Claims He Was Fired Over Muslim Faith

March 4, 2016, 12:36 AM UTC
Supporters Rally At Apple Stores Against Government Interference Into iPhones
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23: A protestor holds up an iPhone that reads, "No Entry" outside of the the Apple store on 5th Avenue on February 23, 2016 in New York City. Protestors gathered to support Apple's decision to resist the FBI's pressure to build a "backdoor" to the iPhone of Syed Rizwan, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
Bryan Thomas—Getty Images

A former attorney for Apple filed a lawsuit this week alleging that the company violated anti-discrimination laws by failing to accommodate his religious beliefs.

In a complaint filed in state court in San Jose, Feras Mousilli claims the company refused to print Arabic on his business cards, and repeatedly told him he was not a “cultural fit.” Mousilli, who lives in San Francisco, also states that Apple (AAPL) refused to re-schedule weekly meetings with his supervisor so that he could attend Friday prayers.

Mousilli, who is of Syrian origin, also claims Apple was a hostile environment in which other employees, named only as “John Doe,” repeatedly told “inappropriate jokes about the war in the Middle East, ISIS terrorists, and the war taking place in Syria.”

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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Mousilli says he was fired by Apple in January 2015 on the grounds that he breached confidentiality rules by showing a prototype of iWatch to family and friends. He claimed this was a pretext to fire him.

“I didn’t display anything that wasn’t public already,” said Mousilli by phone. “I showed a Mickey Mouse display of the watch that had already been paraded on stage by no less than Tim Cook.”

He said he the real reason that Apple fired him was because it did not wish to abide by a legal duty to accommodate his religious rights.

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The lawsuit seeks at least $25,000, including for back wages and for other monetary and punitive damages along with compensation for emotional pain and suffering. The complaint, spotted by Courthouse News, also claims that Apple failed to accommodate physical disabilities relating to his blindness in one eye and color-blindness.

The new discrimination suit comes during a sensitive week for Apple. The company is currently locked in a bitter battle with the federal government, which is seeking a court order to force Apple to decrypt an iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of the dead terrorists in the San Bernardino shooting in December.

(Story was updated to add Apple declined comment)

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