Arab-American Pilot to Discuss Discrimination Case at ADC National Convention
Aziz Baroody, an Arab-American pilot who has filed an $8-Million discrimination lawsuit will be discussing his suit against Bankair for the first time publicly at the upcoming American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) 20th National Convention at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Baroody, will address the attendees and members of the media as well as answer questions during a panel entitled “Life in America Today: Security, Liberty, or Neither” on Friday, June 13, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Aziz Baroody, who for years was a pilot for BankAir, has filed an $8 Million lawsuit seeking redress for the Company’s egregious discrimination against him in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The suit alleges that three days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, BankAir subjected Mr. Baroody to ruthless interrogation, questioning him about whether he was a terrorist, whether his family members were terrorists, whether he knew who planned the terrorist attacks of September 11, or whether he had terrorist connections, solely because of his Arab ethnicity.
Mr. Baroody, who is a Lebanese Christian and who has lived in the United States for nearly 15 years, assured the Company that he had no such connections and that he completely opposed the terrorist attacks on the United States and the groups who committed them. The Company then demanded that he take a polygraph test, which he agreed to do. BankAir nonetheless transferred Mr. Baroody from his base in Chicago, Illinois, to Columbia, South Carolina, downgraded him to part-time status, canceled his health insurance and other employment benefits, and ultimately terminated his employment on December 12, 2001.
The suit also alleges that in the aftermath of 9/11, BankAir employees subjected Mr. Baroody to a racially hostile work environment, which included anti-Arab taunts and threatening remarks. For example, BankAir employees commented that the best way to solve the problem of terrorism in the United States is to “nuke all the Arabs.” Through the assistance of ADC, Mr. Baroody retained counsel to write to BankAir to oppose its overtly discriminatory treatment. Rather than reinstating him, the suit alleges, BankAir harshly retaliated against Mr. Baroody by filing a frivolous lawsuit against him three weeks after receiving his complaint of discrimination. In a move unprecedented in the commercial aviation industry, BankAir sued Mr. Baroody for damage he allegedly caused to BankAir aircraft several years earlier, even though, according to Mr. Baroody’s suit, it had never before sued any other pilot, including those that had caused much more extensive damage to aircraft than the incidents alleged against Mr. Baroody, and even though BankAir was well aware that another pilot had admitted responsibility for the main allegation of damage.
According to Mr. Baroody’s attorney, Debra S. Katz, with the Washington, D.C.-based civil rights firm of Bernabei & Katz, “BankAir’s treatment of Mr. Baroody has been horrific. Even in this post-9/11 climate of fear and hatred, we are certain that a jury will send BankAir a clear message that such blatant acts of intimidation and thuggery will not be permitted.”
According to Mr. Baroody, “I had an outstanding career until the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After that, and solely because I am Arab, BankAir did everything in its power to try to ruin me – first by firing me, then by suing me when I complained. Because BankAir fired me, I have been unable to find another job as a pilot. I am determined to have BankAir answer for its conduct and to someday re-establish my career as a pilot.”
The entire ADC convention agenda can be read and you can register online at: https://www.adc.org/convention2003