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Friday, October 05, 2007

Government checks discrimination claim against local hospital

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed suit against a Nashville hospital alleging that it discriminated against a health-care technician because of his religion.

According to the suit, filed last week, Wali Telwar had worked at Southern Hills Medical Center for nearly three years when in 2005 he requested paid time away from work he accumulated to attend the hajj.

Every Muslim is required to attend the hajj — an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, birthplace of the Islamic religion and its prophet — in their lifetime. The hospital allegedly refused to grant Telwar the time, according to the suit filed by the EEOC in Nashville's federal district court Sept. 28. Telwar also was allegedly told that if he insisted on attending the hajj he would have to quit and reapply when he returned.

Telwar resigned, according to the suit. When he returned, Southern Hills did not rehire Telwar. Instead, the hospital hired three other medical technicians.

Southern Hills Marketing Director Karen Baker declined to comment on the details of the suit.

"We did not discriminate against Mr. Telwar," Baker said in a statement. "We intend to defend our position vigorously." [Link]

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