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February 2, 2015

BIW target of federal harassment lawsuit

Bath Iron Works is facing a federal lawsuit from a former worker who claims he was harassed and discriminated against because he is a Muslim and is of Palestinian descent.

The Bangor Daily News reported that an attorney for Husam D. Abed, who began work at BIW as a designer in 2007 and left last year after taking a leave of absence, claims in the lawsuit that he "faced severe discrimination and harassment based solely on his religion, race and national origin." The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in November.

The lawsuit alleges that Abed was "routinely spit at" and subjected to hate speech by other co-workers and that an Afghanistan flag he had to pass every day was "decimated with hate graffiti" — a flag that coworkers also allegedly spat on.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found no probable cause for the alleged discrimination, a position that has been adopted by the Maine Human Rights Commission. Abed received a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April 2014.

BIW spokesman Matt Wickenheiser, Abed's attorney and a spokesman for the union representing BIW shipyard workers all declined to provide comment to the BDN on Friday.

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