Man who sued Bath Iron Works over discrimination settles

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BATH — A former Bath Iron Works employee who sued the shipyard for allegedly allowing an “anti-Muslim culture” to become ingrained at its facilities has settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.

Husam Abed of Portland claimed in court documents he routinely was harassed, spat at by other employees and subjected to hate speech because he is of Palestinian descent and a Muslim.

Abed initially filed suit in Massachusetts in November, but the case was transferred to federal court in Maine in January. The suit sought $75,000 in damages.

BIW spokesman Matt Wickenheiser declined to comment Wednesday about the suit or settlement. Abed’s attorney, Shaun M. Khan, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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The suit alleged that from the time Abed began working as a designer at BIW in 2007 until he took a leave of absence and left employment last year, he faced “severe discrimination and harassment based solely on his religion, race and national origin,” Khan wrote in a November complaint.

Khan claimed Abed worked in a culture of routine hate speech the company failed to prevent.

According to court documents, Abed said an Afghan flag given to the shipyard by the U.S. Marine Corps for the company’s support of the United Way and Toys for Tots — which continued to hang “in plain view” in the mail walkway at Bath Iron Work’s Hardings facility at the time the suit was filed — was “decimated with hate graffiti,” marked with the words “Devils,” “kill them” and with a drawing of a bomb over the mosque in the center of the flag.

The suit alleged Abed had to walk by the flag defaced with graffiti “that degrades his religion on a daily basis.” It also claims he witnessed multiple employees spit on the flag.

In addition, the suit claimed a co-worker and supervisor targeted Abed, “spewing hate speech” near their cubicles, and Abed’s personal computer account was singled out and compromised.

Abed left work under the Family Medical Leave Act, then resigned because of “emotional distress.”

In March, Abed agreed to dismiss three of five counts in the discrimination lawsuit. Khan said at the time the parties “agreed to narrow the issues” and would enter private mediation for the remaining two counts: violation of civil rights, including unlawful discrimination and a hostile workplace.

According to documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Abed and Bath Iron Works agreed to settle the case with prejudice and with no costs to either party.

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