MetLife Sued for Discrimination Against Muslim American

MetLife is being sued by an ex-secret service agent who is an Arab-American Muslim, for not being hired for a position he claims he was more than qualified for. Instead MetLife hired a less-qualified, white European.

Walied Shater has worked in the security field, in both the public and private sector, for more than twenty years, according to the complaint. He claims to have significant security experience pertaining to the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. He speaks both English and Arabic.

Shater worked for the United States secret service from 1995 to 2007. According to the complaint, he was assigned to the presidential protective division (PPD) in 2000, a position he claims is highly selective in that less than 10% of all secret service agents serve in the PPD.

After leaving the secret service, Shater worked in the corporate security departments of two Fortune 500 companies, according to the complaint. He claims he retains his “secret” security clearance, a rarity for those no longer in government service. Both private sector positions focused on security involving the MENA region.

In October 2014 MetLife announced that it was looking for a vice president for global corporate security – EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa). Shater applied and went through a series of interviews. He did not hear back and, when he contacted MetLife a month later, he was told that they were “not going to be moving forward at this time,” the complaint states.

In October 2015, while Shater was working for an international energy company he attended a meeting where he found out that someone had been hired for the MetLife vice president for global security position. The successful candidate is white, European, and non-Muslim.

Shater compared the original job posting from MetLife with both his qualifications and the successful candidate’s resume. He claims that, of the first five requirements, the hired individual failed to meet any, whereas Shater did. According to the complaint, “Mr. Shater’s relevant experience and qualifications were manifestly superior to those of the successful candidate.”

Shater further claims that the successful individual left the job within two years. MetLife again posted the position in November 2016 but did not contact Shater to offer it to him.

Shater is represented by Jonathan Bernstein of New York City who filed the case in the Southern District of New York.

Image Source: Sam Alsabti (Flickr)