‘Good morning, terrorist’: Islam convert sues Bed Bath & Beyond, says he was harassed for growing beard

A New York Muslim man has filed a lawsuit against Bed Bath & Beyond because he claimed he was targeted and eventually fired for his religion.

Jose Alcantara, 48 alleged in his lawsuit that he was subjected to ridicule and bullying when he converted to Islam and began growing his beard, after his mother-in-law died from cancer, according to the New York Daily News.

Alcantara told the News that the human resources department ignored him when he complained that colleagues called him a terrorist.

“When I was being called a terrorist, it made me question everything — my religion, my beliefs, myself,” he told the News.

Jose Alcantara
Photo credit Susan Watts/New York Daily News.

“These were people I trusted and was trying to develop a relationship with,” he said. “I felt really betrayed. They stabbed me in the back.”

He said when he first started working at the store the other employees were “really friendly and nice,” and “it was a pleasure to go to work.”

But all that changed, according to Alcantara, when a manager questioned him about his beard.

Alcantara alleged that soon after he told the manager he converted to Islam and was growing the beard other employees started greeting him with “Good morning, terrorist. How are you terrorist?”

According to his complaint he was eventually fired for not working on scheduled days which he claimed occurred because his vacation schedule was changed, according to the News.

In November 2013, Alcantara requested to take off from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, 2014. The request was approved, and Alcantara was later provided with a work schedule showing he was also off on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5.

But Alcantara, after returning to work following his vacation, was confronted by Marsalli and told he was being fired for not showing up on Jan. 3 through Jan. 5, the suit says.

The lawsuit includes a picture apparently showing Alcantara’s schedule was altered to reflect that he was supposed to work those days.

In July the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a “right to sue” letter to Alcantara after they deemed he was unfairly targeted for his religious beliefs.

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Carmine Sabia

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