NYPD Sued for Discrimination Based on Religion and National Origin

A member of the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Executive Protection Unit (EPU) is suing for unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment and failure to promote, claiming he was discriminated against because he is a Muslim who was born in Egypt.

Abdelim Azab has been employed by the NYPD since July 2001 and became a detective in September 2003, according to the complaint. He claims to have consistently received performance reviews of 4.5 out of 5.0 throughout his service.

In 2008 Azab was promoted from third grade to second grade detective, but has not received a promotion to first grade detective. He claims such a promotion would result in increased benefits, including salary, overtime, pension contributions as well as better training, an increase in status and an ability to “earn significantly more in private practice upon retirement from the NYPD,” the complain states.

Azab claims that derogatory comments have been directed towards him, but not toward other EPU detectives who are not of his national origin or religion. He claims he was called a misfit and “intimidating” by supervisors. He also claims he experienced a hostile work environment and was repeatedly pulled from assignments to escort the mayor without notice or explanation.

In addition, Azab claims other detectives with less rank and seniority were provided with opportunities for training that he was denied and this decreased his chances for promotion while improving theirs. He claims there were “systematic attempts to isolate [him] from the rest of the EPU. “

Detectives with less experience who did not share Azab’s national origin or religion were promoted to first grade detective, while he was not, according to the complaint.

Azab also claims there are no objective criteria for promotion of detectives and that “promotions are the result of a highly subjective decision-making process, with decisions about advancement made in secret by all-white high level supervisors,” and that “religion and national origin play an impermissible role in all levels of the highly subjective promotions process,” according to the complaint.

Azab is represented by Marshall Bellovin of New York City who filed the case in the Southern District of New York.