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Amnesty International in disputes over harassment, discrimination

The #MeToo movement has already taught the nation many valuable lessons. One of the most important is that even organizations and people you might assume would not be involved in matters of sexual harassment and retaliation can sometimes find themselves credibly accused of both.

We read recently of a former Amnesty International USA advocacy director who claims he was fired in retaliation for helping organize a petition on behalf of unpaid interns. The legendary nonprofit organization says Raed Jarrar, its former Middle East and Africa advocacy director, was fired after its own investigation determined that a complaint against him of “inappropriate conduct toward a female coworker” was legitimate.

It should be noted that last month, a National Labor Relations Board administrative judge ruled that that threats by Amnesty International USA’s executive director to fire Jarrar violated labor law. Marget Huang threatened early last year to terminate Jarrar and others who signed the petition about interns. Jarrar was fired in July.

He has also claimed that Amnesty International USA’s approach to him also included stereotypes of Muslim and Middle Eastern men. “Management portrayed me as misogynistic and gender-oblivious, which just happens to be a classic racist trope about Arab and Muslim-American men,” Jarrar stated in an email to Bloomberg Law.

He added that he doesn’t expect his denial of wrongdoing to be accepted at face value, but that he does expect that a “fair investigation” will “ultimately reveal the truth.”

The organization’s interim deputy executive director says Jarrar is attempting to “shift the blame” to Amnesty International USA, but that the group is standing “with the victim.”

We do not know how this complicated dispute will be resolved, but we are certain that it’s important for both victims of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination to speak up and fight for their rights and careers with the help of an attorney experienced in employment law litigation.

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