EEOC Case Shows Effects of 9/11 Still Creating Workplace Issues

September 29, 2010 ( – National auto parts retailer AutoZone is accused of subjecting an employee to harassment and failing to accommodate for his religion.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit that AutoZone created a hostile work environment at its location in Everett, Massachusetts for Frank Mahoney-Burroughs after he converted to the Sikh religion. The harassment included a manager asking Mahoney-Burroughs if he was a terrorist and had joined Al-Qaeda and whether he intended to blow up the store, according to an EEOC announcement.   

The complaint also alleges that AutoZone failed to intervene when customers referred to Mahoney-Burroughs as “Bin Laden” and made terrorist jokes, and refused to let him wear a turban and kara (a religious bracelet) as required of male adherents to Sikhism.   

The EEOC said that finally, AutoZone terminated Mahoney-Burroughs because of his religion and in retaliation for complaining about discrimination.