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Muslim attorney files a lawsuit against a company, alleging discrimination based on her identity and advocacy for Palestine

Lebanese-American lawyer Jinan Chehade has filed a lawsuit against a national law firm, alleging discrimination after being terminated on the eve of her anticipated start date.

Chehade contends that Foley & Lardner discriminated against her based on her Arab Muslim heritage and her vocal advocacy, both on social media and in meetings, regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Chehade asserts that her dismissal, scheduled just before she was due to commence work at the firm’s Chicago office in late October, was motivated by her identity and political viewpoints. The complaint outlines that Chehade had been offered a full-time position to commence in the fall of 2023.

Chehade recounted, “As soon as we all sat down, they pulled out a packet of about 15 to 20 pages with screenshots of my social media posts, about speeches that I’ve made, about my background, my identity.”

She expressed increasing concern when questioned about her father’s employment, given her status as a child of immigrants, particularly as he works at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview.

The firm also probed her connections with the student organization, Students for Justice in Palestine, and her public remarks concerning a proposed ceasefire resolution at a Chicago City Council meeting.

Chehade perceived these inquiries into her political affiliations and opinions as part of the firm’s discriminatory conduct.

“It was devastating when they turned against me and vilified me in this way when I really respected their supposed commitment to diversity,” Chehade expressed.

In response, a representative from the firm defended their decision to rescind Chehade’s employment offer, citing her statements surrounding the attacks by Hamas on October 7 as the reason.

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