A former corrections officer, who is Arab American and Muslim, said his employment with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) was so horrible that he left after almost four years.
Hizam Yehia has now filed a federal lawsuit against the MDOC, accusing coworkers and superiors of creating a hostile and intimidating work environment.
Yehia was assigned to the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson where he claims fellow corrections officers and supervisors often made derogatory remarks about everything from his family’s national origin to his religion and his weight.
Yehia claims he was tricked him into eating pork and was asked how his “business selling bomb parts online” was doing and if he rode his “camel to work.”
Yehia said the harassment was crude with outlandish claims that he engaged in sex acts with animals.
“I just hope nobody ever goes through what I went through. It was just very, very bad,” Yehia told 7 Action News. “Honestly, I left there because I couldn’t endure it anymore and it was negatively affecting me and my family’s overall health.”
Attorney Jonathan Marko is representing Yehia in the lawsuit that alleges violations of his constitutional rights and violations of state law.
The lawsuit seeks an undisclosed amount of money.
“We’ve identified over ten individuals who took part in this racist and discriminatory behavior including supervisors who had an obligation to stop it and to do something about it,” Marko told 7 Action News.
We reached out to a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections for comment, but we were told they cannot comment on pending litigation.