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Former corrections officer sues MDOC, claims harassment in 'hostile work environment'

Posted at 5:51 AM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 10:08:10-04

LANSING, Mich. — A former Michigan Department of Corrections officer filed a lawsuit claiming his co-workers unfairly targeted him for his ethnicity, religion, and weight.

Hizam Yehia, an Arab-American from Detroit, claims his fellow corrections officers and supervisors made derogatory comments to him, calling him a terrorist, said they "hope he isn't wearing a bomb vest," and asked him how his "bomb-making business was."

He claims his co-workers said "he married his first cousin," and would ask if he rode a camel to work.

Yehia is Muslim and chooses not to eat pork but says coworkers intentionally hid pork in his food.

His attorneys said Yehia was diagnosed with severe anxiety and had frequent panic attacks.

The 27-year-old worked at MDOC for four years before the constant harassment forced him to resign and move to Virginia.

He said the harassment began when he first started working at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson back in 2015.

Yehia said before filing the lawsuit he asked for help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but they closed the matter on April 22.

Yehia's attorney identifies 10 individuals they allege took part in the discriminatory and racist behavior.

The suit is seeking an undisclosed amount of money.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections said it cannot comment due to the pending litigation.

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