Aug 19 2013
NEW JERSEY MALL: Muslim woman files lawsuit claiming she was “intimidated and humiliated” when mall security guard asked her to remove her full face-covering headbag
Wakeelah Salaam (photo right), of Elizabeth, NJ has filed a lawsuit against Bridgewater Commons mall, its owner, General Growth Properties, its mall security vendor, IPC International Corporation, and Marc Krause, a former mall guard. “He came into my face as if he were going to kiss me (Kiss YOU? Don’t dream, honey) and made a hand gesture like he was going to lift my veil off,” claims Salaam.
NJ.com (h/t Amil I) Salaam is demanding compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages, interest, attorneys’ fees, court costs, expert fees, and any other relief the court deems just, and a jury trial, according to the complaint.
On May 20, 2012, Salaam was shopping at Bridgewater Commons with her two young children when she claims she was “victimized, harassed, intimidated, insulted and subjected to unlawful discrimination” by Krause, according to the complaint.
The guard instructed Salaam to remove her traditional face-covering known as a niqab, which he called a “mask,” claiming it was against mall policy, according to the complaint. Salaam claims that Krause violated state discrimination laws when he “intimidated (Salaam) further by placing himself in extremely close proximity to (Salaam) and by motioning as if he were going to remove the niqab itself.”
“She was genuinely devastated by this incident,” Pamela Lynn Brause of Brause, Brause & Ventrice, LLC, who filed the suit on behalf of Salaam, said. “She was in the mall, a place of major commerce, with her kids, and she was really humiliated and embarrassed.”
“I can’t speak as a Muslim, (then why are you?) but I assure you her feelings are sincere,” Brause said. “You’re not expecting prejudice when you walk into a place of commerce, and she felt very threatened, violated, and embarrassed.” (It isn’t prejudice, it’s security. You can’t walk into the mall in a ski mask either)
The complaint also charges the defendants with negligence and a failure to adequately hire, train or supervise Krause, calling the conduct an “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
The complaint states that Salaam suffered severe and permanent emotional distress and bodily injuries, humiliation, and embarrassment which “necessitated obtaining medical treatment, caused great pain and suffering, severe emotional distress,” made it impossible for her to continue her usual work and activities, and “left her with permanent disabilities.”
In December, Krause himself filed a suit against IPC, Bridgewater Commons and General Growth properties, alleging discrimination and wrongful termination over his firing after the incident with Salaam. Krause worked at Bridgewater Commons since April 2001 under previous owners Rouse Company, and remained employed when General Growth Properties took over ownership in 2003.
Krause had no prior disciplinary actions against him, and had been commended for his work, the complaint said. Krause was given cultural retaining (by whom, CAIR jihadists?) but was not allowed to return to work, his complaint stated. He was offered a job at IPC’s West Windsor location but Krause found the offer unacceptable, and IPC transferred him anyway.
“(Krause) was not a mall employee, but rather an employee of the mall’s security vendor,” David Keating, vice president of corporate communications for General Growth, said at the time of Krause’s lawsuit. Keating said he could not comment further on pending litigation.
Cige said that in Krause’s case, they agreed on mediation by retired Judge Harriet Derman of Somerset County. “We are beginning the court required mediation process, but are on hold pending a decision by the defendants whether to try and consolidate the new case with ours,” Cige said. “We also need to figure out if the employer is required to offer Krause a defense in that case, and how doing so impacts ours.”