EEOC v. NCL (D. Haw. 2008): Employment Discrimination Case

The EEOC represented a group of Muslims suing their former employer, Norwegian Cruise Lines, under Title VII, alleging religious and national-origin discrimination. The plaintiffs claimed that these discriminatory motives caused the company to target them for increased scrutiny, to create a hostile work environment by allowing their co-workers to verbally harass them (in part, by referring to them as terrorists), and finally, to terminate them. The plaintiffs further entered a complaint for negligent infliction of emotional distress on these bases. The defendants argued that they terminated the plaintiffs for inconsistent answers given to background questions and because they were “positive matches in the FBI database.” The Court dismissed the claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress, but concluded that the discrimination case could go forward as plaintiffs had established a prima facie discrimination case such that a jury could find that the company’s reasons given for terminating the plaintiffs were pretexts for a discriminatory reason.

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