Drugstore Chain Hit With Muslim Discrimination Suit

August 7, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The federal anti-discrimination agency has taken Rite Aid Pharmacy to court, alleging that the pharmacy chain fired a Delaware pharmacy technician for asking for time off to celebrate the Muslim holiday Ramadan.

>The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Wilmington, by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charges that store managers fired plaintiff Zarin Din who had requested a religious holiday in December 2002, according to a report on Delawareonline.

>The suit charged that Rite Aid supervisors provided the 49-year-old Wilmington resident no explanation for her 2002 firing and refused to transfer her to another store. The legal action seeks back pay, reinstatement for Din, as well as punitive damages against the corporation.

>Din, described in court papers as a devout Muslim, was hired by the store in September 2001, and was given two days off to observe Ramadan in November 2001, the lawsuit said.   However, when Din asked for a single day off to observe the holiday in December 2002, her request was denied and she was told, “leave now and don’t show up to work anymore,” according to the lawsuit.

Din had an excellent attendance record, was often asked to work additional hours, and never received written disciplinary warnings or negative evaluations, the lawsuit indicated.