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Utahn says he was fired for converting to Islam, lawsuit alleges

A mechanic in southern Utah alleges in a lawsuit filed in Utah's U.S. District Court that he was fired because he converted to Islam.

A mechanic in southern Utah alleges in a lawsuit filed in Utah's U.S. District Court that he was fired because he converted to Islam. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)



SALT LAKE CITY — A mechanic in southern Utah alleges he was harassed and later fired from his job at a car dealership because he converted to Islam.

Allan Goodson is suing Bradshaw Chevrolet in Cedar City for religious discrimination after he says his supervisor mocked him, calling him a "terrorist" and saying he betrayed other white people by becoming a Muslim.

He's seeking a judge's order barring the business from discriminating based on religion, requiring the dealership to create a policy allowing prayer breaks and mandating yearly trainings on religion for managers. Goodson is also seeking financial damages in an undisclosed amount, to be awarded at trial.

"Allan's received so much support from communities in Utah and across the country," attorney Zanah Ghalawanji, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement. "We're hopeful that this lawsuit will ensure that what happened at Bradshaw will never happen again."

Dealership owner Mark Bradshaw said he sees it differently.

"We deny all of the charges, all of the allegations," he said, declining further comment on the advice of his attorneys.

Goodson contends the company denied his requests to take short breaks for prayer last year and work longer hours on certain days so he could attend Friday prayer services. But the business allowed Latter-day Saint employees to take similar breaks and permitted other workers to take Fridays off and make up the work at other times, he alleges in the lawsuit filed last week at federal court in Salt Lake City.

Goodson alleges his supervisor recounted previously harassing an Arab man who used to work at the dealership until the man eventually quit. The same boss allegedly told Goodson "that he was wrong for not being a Mormon and that Goodson would be cast into outer darkness," according to the lawsuit.

Managers refused to take action to stop the harassment, he says, and reduced his hours at work even though the business received a pandemic loan and told employees it wouldn't cut hours.

In May 2020, while he was filing a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during a lunch break, a different manager asked to see the questionnaire and then made a phone call, the lawsuit states.

Goodson was reprimanded four days later for not marking paperwork clearly, as well as for telling a customer after a tire rotation that the service can cause premature wear if done too often. His supervisor fired him and told him "go file a report about that," the suit says.

Goodson told Bradshaw he believed he was fired because of his religion, but Bradshaw explained that Goodson was being terminated because he had disrespected his boss.

His supervisor, "who was in the room, mocked Goodson by waving his middle finger at him and winking at him," the lawsuit says.

A hearing date hasn't yet been set.

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