The National Association of Arab Americans has filed a class action suit against the Marriot Corp., charging that the company discriminates against its Arab-American employees and job applicants.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, alleges that Marriott "unlawfully discriminates against employees of Arab origin with respect to compensation, promotion and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment." Marriott has its principal offices in Bethesda.
Two former Marriott waiters joined the Arab American Association in the suit. John Magged, of 420 N. Armisted St., Alexandria, and Nabil Anis Makar, of 4904 River Rd., Bethesda, allege in the suit that they were rejected as applicants for management training positions because of their national origins.
The suit asks that the company give each member of the class of the class the jobs or promotions they were denied; that these individuals receie back pay equal to the money they would have received had they been hired for the positions they sought, and that they be paid a salary until they receive the jobs or promotions they were denied.
In addition, the suit has asked the court to direct Marriott to adopt a plan for recruiting, hiring and promoting qualified Arab Americans.
Marriot's manager for equal employment and affirmative action said only that the corporation has "not violated the law."
Magged won a case last September before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Marriott, but the corporation rejected teh commission's findings. The commission ruled that Magged's national origin was a factor in Magged's rejection for a management trainee position.
In the suit Magged and Makar claim that they applied twice for management trainee positions advertised in newspapers in 1970. They say they were refused entrance into the programs without receiving job interviews. Marriott continued to seek applicants for those positions and 14 American Caucasians were eventually hired, according to the suit.
Magged, who emigrated to the United States in 1969 from his native Egypt, applied for the position in 1970, according to the suit. At that time he had experience as an agricultural engineer and farm manager as well as a college degree in agriculture and food sciences. He became a U.S. citizen in 1973.
Makar came to the U.S. in 1969 and received his citizenship in 1975.Also a college graduate. Makar had succesfully owned and operated a restaurant when he applied for the management trainee program, according to the suit.
As a class action, the suit covers all current Marriott employees of Arab American descent, those who were employed any time after July 2, 1965, when the Civil Rights Act went into effect and those who allege that they were denied jobs because of their Arab origin.
This suit is the first such action for the Arab American Association, according to Michael Saba. The association, which has about 30,000 members, was established to promote better understanding of Arab culture and discourage discrimination against Arab Americans, Saba said.