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Arab-Muslim lawyer files lawsuit against US firm over job offer

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Jinan Chehade

NEW YORK, June 1: In a recent development, a Lebanese-American lawyer has filed a lawsuit against a national law firm, alleging discrimination. Jinan Chehade claims she was terminated from her position at Foley & Lardner’s Chicago office, just one day before she was scheduled to commence her employment. Chehade asserts that her termination was based on her Muslim and Arab identity, as well as her public statements regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza.

According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Chehade, a graduate of Georgetown Law School, had been offered a full-time position by Foley & Lardner to begin in the fall of 2023. However, she was allegedly dismissed 15 hours before her expected start date. Chehade further alleges that, prior to her termination, she was subjected to a hostile interrogation by the firm, lasting for two hours, during which her social media activity and public engagements were scrutinized.

In an interview with the Tribune, Chehade recounted feeling distressed when questioned about her family background and associations, including her father’s employment at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview. She expressed disappointment in the firm’s actions, particularly considering their purported commitment to diversity.

Responding to Chehade’s allegations, a representative from Foley & Lardner stated via email that they believed her complaint to be “without merit.” The firm defended its decision to rescind Chehade’s employment offer, citing her statements regarding “the horrendous attacks by Hamas on October 7.”

The lawsuit underscores ongoing debates surrounding workplace discrimination and the intersection of personal beliefs with professional obligations.

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