Iranian couple reinstated in settlement

By John O'Brien | Dec 21, 2006

MORGANTOWN - A Morgantown couple has been reinstated to their jobs at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Ali and Shahla Afshari claimed they were fired because they were Iranian and/or muslim and filed a discrimination lawsuit
Dec. 28, 2004.

A notice of voluntary dismissal was filed Dec. 11, ending the suit against Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Tommy Thompson, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Julie Gerberding and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Director Dr. John Howard.

The Afsharis were fired on May 5, 2004, from their jobs at NIOSH. The termination letter stated that they did not pass a background check and listed no other reason for the termination.

The couple had been in the United States since 1986. Both graduated from West Virginia University and eventually earned jobs in the Health Effects Laboratory Division of NIOSH.

In the spring of 2004, their daughter Azadeh interned at NIOSH while a senior at WVU, according to the complaint. It also says that on April 15, 2004, Azadeh was told she could not enter NIOSH and was barred from completing her internship.

More than two weeks later, the Afsharis were told they were being fired, the complaint says.

Allan Karlin of Allan Karlin and Associates in Morgantown represented the Afsharis, as did the American Civil Liberties Union.

U.S. District Court case number 1:04-cv-270

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