A former employee of a Utah car dealership is suing the company for allegedly discriminating against him because he converted to Islam during his time there.
Allan Goodson converted from Christianity to Islam in October 2019, two months after he was hired as a lube technician at Bradshaw Chevrolet in Cedar City, Utah. The harassment started shortly after Goodson asked his manager to allow him to take time for daily prayers while at work, according to a lawsuit filed on his behalf in the Central Division of Utah District Court in late July.
Those prayers, practiced five times daily, are a key part of the Muslim faith. The suit says the manager denied Goodson's request to take a break for one five-to-10 minute prayer that fell during his nonlunch work hours and denied another request for his work hours to be shifted so he could attend hourlong Friday prayer sessions at his mosque.
Between late 2019 and May 2020, one of Goodson's supervisors and several employees regularly mocked his faith, according to the suit. The suit claims the supervisor in question called Goodson a "terrorist" and said he betrayed his race by converting, among other verbal jeers.
Goodson in late May 2020 electronically filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The manager who denied Goodson's request for prayer breaks learned from Goodson that he was filing the complaint, and the dealership fired him shortly thereafter, according to the suit.
The suit also says Goodson reported the alleged discrimination to General Motors, but the automaker said it couldn't step in because Bradshaw Chevrolet is a privately-owned dealership.
"[Goodson] filed charges with the EEOC first, and the EEOC decided to not pursue any action on this, so we're surprised he's trying this angle that he's trying now," the owner of the dealership, Mark Bradshaw, later told Automotive News. "And we do deny all of the allegations."
Goodson's attorneys did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
Goodson is seeking multiple damages and requested that the court order Bradshaw Chevrolet to institute religious accommodation policies for Muslim workers. The suit claims Bradshaw employees who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had accommodations for their religious beliefs.