WLG is proud to announce a trial victory in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division.
The plaintiff, Sean Mohammed, is a Seventh Day Adventist who worked for Central Drive Mini Storage for over seven years. During that time, he was allowed to arrange his schedule so he did not work on Saturdays—his day of worship. In 2010, a new manager was brought in who refused to accommodate Mr. Mohammed's religious beliefs. She told Mr. Mohammed that he was “not a team player” and that he would not advance within the company unless he worked on Saturdays. When Mr. Mohammed complained about this treatment, he was quickly terminated.
In a 35-page decision, United States District Judge Raymond Jackson found that the employer’s stated rationales for terminating Mr. Mohammed were not credible and were simply pretext for retaliation in response to Mr. Mohammed’s complaints of religious discrimination. Judge Jackson’s opinion analyzed the strict standards the Fourth Circuit applies in discrimination and retaliation cases, and concluded that the evidence presented at trial indeed met that very high burden.
WLG co-founder Ari Wilkenfeld, who tried the case with fellow co-founder Rosalind Herendeen and a local counsel, said, “This is a real vindication for Mr. Mohammed, who has always maintained that there was no valid reason for his termination. It is also very gratifying to win a civil rights case in the Fourth Circuit. It’s not an easy thing to do, but we are hopeful Judge Jackson’s outstanding opinion will serve to embolden more victims of discrimination who live in Virginia to take their chances in court and try to obtain justice as Mr. Mohammed did.”