Ex-Daimler engineer sues for $2 million; says boss called him 'bin Laden'

A Clark County, Washington, man who worked for Daimler Trucks North America in Portland, Oregon, is suing the company for $2 million, claiming his supervisor repeatedly called him "bin Laden" and suggested he was a member of al-Qaida.

The Oregonian newspaper reports (http://is.gd/FbzbA0) that the lawsuit by Hussein Fouad, a 75-year-old, Egyptian-born engineer, is the latest alleging discrimination at the German company's operations in Portland.

In January, Daimler agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle complaints filed by six former workers who said they were the targets of racist or homophobic slurs, Nazi graffiti and threats. In February, four current or former workers who are black filed a $9.5 million claim, saying they were targeted with nooses, greeted with a "Heil Hitler" salute or otherwise harassed.

Company spokesman Dave Giroux declined to comment on the allegations but noted the company cooperated with a state investigation into civil rights complaints that led to January's settlement.

Fouad's lawsuit states he worked for the company from 2012 to 2014, and was recognized for saving the company more than $1 million a year for suggesting it use aluminum wire instead of copper wire in some of its electrical connections.

The suit claims he received a positive performance review in his first year, but after receiving a new supervisor, his work situation rapidly deteriorated. It says his supervisor repeatedly asked him about his age and retirement plans, mocked his accent and suggested that he was sympathetic with Osama bin Laden.

Despite Fouad's strong job performance, his supervisor put him on a "performance improvement plan" as part of a mission to get rid of Fouad, the suit says. Four months later, he was fired.

Fouad seeks $1 million in lost wages and benefits, plus $1 million for emotional distress.

The truck company is a subsidiary of German automotive giant Daimler AG.


Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com