The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ahmed Ibrahim against Sheffield Financial LLC, based in Clemmons, near Winston-Salem, according to the Associated Press.
The suit claimed Ibrahim’s September 2005 separation from the company was because of his Arabic accent.
The lawsuit seeks back pay for Ibrahim and punitive damages. It also seeks to stop Sheffield from using discriminatory practices.
“Employers cannot terminate or refuse to hire a person because of a foreign accent unless the accent materially interferes with the ability to do the job. We found that was not the case here,” said Reuben Daniels Jr., the director of the EEOC’s Charlotte office.