Fired Mich. dentist claims religious discrimination

A Michigan dentist claims he was fired from his job as manager at Midwestern Dental in Dearborn because he is Jewish and the office caters to a predominantly Arabic patient population.

In a lawsuit filed March 15 in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division, Mark Ellis, DDS, alleges he was discriminated against because of his religion and that his civil rights were violated as a result.

Dr. Ellis claims he was advised against wearing a Yarmulke during work hours but that the office allowed Muslim dentists to wear head covering or other clothing dictated by their religious beliefs, according to the complaint.

Dr. Ellis, who worked at Midwestern Dental from 2007-2010, also alleges that he asked his boss to rearrange his work schedule so that he could be home before dark on Fridays and observe the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.

The "defendant reluctantly allowed plaintiff to leave early on Friday but constantly questioned, ridiculed, and harassed him about the legitimacy of his beliefs," according to the complaint.

Meanwhile, Muslim dentists working in the office were given an extra hour at lunch to attend prayers at a local mosque, the lawsuit alleges.

In May 2010, Dr. Ellis was terminated allegedly because the Dearborn office was underperforming. But Dr. Ellis claims that his job performance throughout his employment was "fully satisfactory" and that office revenues increased "significantly" during his years there.

Dr. Ellis is asking for compensation for damages and to be reinstated to his job where he earned a base salary of $125,000 a year or a comparable position.

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