Friday, March 16, 2012
Detroit, MI - Orthodox Dentist Sues, Claims Religious Discrimination
Dearborn — A dentist filed a federal lawsuit Thursday alleging that he was fired by his employers at a local dentist office because he is Jewish, and was given less favorable treatment than Arab employees in the practice where he worked.
In his lawsuit filed in federal court in Detroit, Dr. Mark Ellis alleges that he was advised against wearing a Yarmulke, a head covering traditionally worn by Jewish men and Tzitzit, ceremonial religious tassels, during work hours at his job as a dental manager at Midwest Dental of Deaborn, dba Midwestern Dental "since the office was located in Dearborn with a large percentage of Arabic patients," according to the lawsuit.
"Defendant, however, permitted Muslim dentists to wear head covering or other clothing dictated by their religious beliefs," according to the complaint.
Ellis alleges he was discriminated against because of his religion and that his civil rights were violated as a result. He also is suing under Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act for alleged religious discrimination.
Ellis, who worked at Midwestern Dental from 2007-10, was not available for comment Thursday. Efforts to reach officials for Midwestern Dental were not successful.
Ellis, an observant Jew, also alleges that he asked his boss to rearrange his workschedule so that he could be home before dark on Fridays and observe the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath as required by his faith.
The "defendant reluctantly allowed plaintiff to leave early on Friday but constantly questioned, ridiculed and harassed him about the legitimacy of his beliefs," according to the 10-page complaint accompanying the lawsuit.
But, according to the lawsuit, Muslims dentists "were given an extra hour at lunch to attend prayers at a local Mosque."
Ellis said his job performance throughout his employment was "fully satisfactory" and that when he was fired he was replaced by a dentist, who is Arab.
Ellis, who said he was also denied bonuses for 2007 and 2010, is asking for compensation for damages and to be reinstated to his job where he earned a base salary of $125,000 a year or a comparable position
Source: Detroit News