FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WDVM) — A Northern Virginia woman is suing a Falls Church-based company alleging they refused to hire her because she wanted to pray at work.
Shahin Indorewala applied for a job at Fast Trak Management Inc. in September 2018. She was invited to a second interview which she said seemed to be going well until a discussion about her future schedule, which included a two-hour lunch break.
“I asked her well that’s a pretty long lunch break can I shorten the lunch break and instead take two short prayer breaks, five minutes each, because I have to pray five times a day,” Indorewala said. “She promptly ended the interview and said the hours are not going to work we have fixed hours here.”
According to Indorewala, she was escorted back to the office where she ran into Ramses Gavilondo, CEO of Fast Trak.
“He just was like, ‘what prayer?’ He’s like, ‘prayer is for home this is a business’….and then he was like ‘religion’ and he pointed to my headscarf and was like ‘we don’t want those shenanigans here’,” Indorewala explained.
WDVM met with Gavilondo, who didn’t want to speak on camera but said ‘”A wise person once said if it makes you happy and it does not interfere with anyone go ahead and do as you please.”
He said, “We don’t tell people what to do. We asked her to come back for a second interview but the hours didn’t work out for her.” He also says that he has gotten death threats from people.
Indorewala’s lawyer said Gavilondo’s actions tell a different story.
“There was no reason for Fast Trak to deny the religious accommodation but if not for that request Shahin would’ve gotten the job. They gave her her schedule, they went over job duties and even told her that she’d be working on a contract with Verizon. To make matters worse when she went to talk to the CEO not only did he deny her request he mocked her faith in front of other staff and other people who were interviewing the behavior was just so egregious,” said Zanah Ghalawamji, staff attorney for CAIR.
Indorewala is now waiting for Fast Trak’s response to the lawsuit.