Jury Finds No Basis For Muslim's Bias Suit

September 15, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal jury determined former Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) vice president Walid Maghribi was not forced to quit after his bosses questioned him at a company dinner party about being an Arab and Muslim.

The verdict, handed down on the second anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, was arrived at based on the jury’s perception that the bias suit arose out of a disagreement between Maghribi and his supervisors and was not racially motivated, according The Recorder report.   “I think it was a business deal,” said juror Margaret Santiago. “I don’t think he was discriminated against.”

This came after lawyers for AMD argued Maghribi has quit several times as a tactic to get raises and benefits.   In the latest case, AMD’s lawyers alleged Maghribi wanted to spin off AMD’s memory chip division – which he was in charge of – and make millions on the subsequent initial public offering.   However when a deal could not be struck that benefited Maghribi personally, he walked.

Offered as further evidence that Maghribi’s departure was not motivated by race or religion, AMD’s lawyers called General Counsel Thomas McCoy to the stand.   McCoy testified that his own mother was Iranian.  

Ultimately, the jury agreed with AMD.   “They just didn’t tie enough pieces together to see it as discrimination,” said jury forewoman Julie McGowan.

Maghribi’s Case

>Maghribi contends he sued the chipmaker in April 2002 after he was questioned by AMD chairman and founder Jerry Sanders about his faith and ethnicity at an October 2001 dinner party.   Further, Maghribi ‘s attorney alleges his client was later ordered to do things that would sabotage an important future business deal.

This caused Maghribi , who had spent 15 years at AMD, to resign his post in December 2001.

Noting that the jury had returned its verdict on the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks, US District Judge Jeremy Fogel told jurors, “After those events, there was an atmosphere of fear and sadness and a new way of looking at the realities of the world.” Fogel added, “There was an outpouring of hostility for people of Islamic faith. It’s very important this trial and your deliberations occurred in public view.”