A Muslim nurse is suing the state Department of Veterans Affairs, alleging in court papers filed in Los Angeles that he was fired in retaliation for complaining that an administrator gave favorable treatment to Filipinos and whites.
Ali Mohamed’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges national, racial and disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation. He seeks unspecified damages in the complaint filed Thursday.
A CalVet representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Mohamed was born in Somalia and arrived in the U.S. as a young adult in 1979, according to his court papers. He worked in numerous business and government jobs and received a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2005, the suit says.
Mohamed was hired by CalVet in November 2018 as a supervising registered nurse and reported to the facility’s Filipino administrator, who favored people of his own background as well as whites, the suit alleges.
Although the administrator admitted that Mohamed was doing satisfactory work, he treated the plaintiff “with hostility due his race and African ethnicity,” the same way he did other employees of African origin, the suit alleges.
The administrator embarrassed Mohamed by yelling at him and once yanked paperwork out of his hand in front of co-workers, according to the suit, which alleges the administrator admitted he yelled at Mohamed but blamed the plaintiff for making him mad.
The administrator also acknowledged he did not allow Mohamed to take classes to acquire various skills, but then blamed the plaintiff for not being properly trained, the suit alleges.
Mohamed’s complaints to management about his treatment were ignored, so he filed a federal complaint against the Filipino administrator who allegedly mistreated him, claiming discrimination and harassment based on his race, the suit states. He alleges the administrator’s misconduct toward him intensified as a result of the filing of the complaint, and he was placed on medical leave from July to August 2019 due to work-related stress that made him sick.
Mohamed maintains that the filing of his federal complaint motivated the administrator who allegedly harassed him to tell another manager that the plaintiff was a “problem employee” who “could not be trusted,” the suit states.
“As such, while plaintiff was on a medical leave, defendants were looking to retaliate against plaintiff for having complained about defendants’ discriminatory practices,” the suit alleges.
Mohamed returned to work in August 2019 and the Filipino administrator reduced his performance ratings during his evaluation the next month, stating he needed improvement in eight of 10 categories, the suit states.
Up until he was fired in May, CalVet management “continued to falsely discipline” Mohamed by writing him up for various incidents that did not happen or were unrelated to him, the suit alleges.