Workers Face Retaliatory Firings for Supporting Palestinian Human Rights

Originally published in Labor Today

Since October 2023, workers have seen an upsurge in retaliatory firing based on pro-Palestine views. The Civil Rights Act technically protects workers from discrimination based on race. However, at-will employment allows employers to terminate any staff member for any reason that is not “protected.”

Tania Singh is a leader in the Minnesota Nurses Association, an affiliate of National Nurses United, who had organized a campaign to unionize sexual assault examiners. Her positive activity in the union made no difference when she was placed on administrative leave after stating on social media that she supports oppressed people’s right to resist in any way they see fit. She considers this to be new-age McCarthyism.

Dr. Zaki Masoud was terminated after posting a statement on Instagram supporting the Palestinian resistance. One week after NYU Langone terminated the doctor, Masoud received recognition for “Outstanding Patient Care” from his residency newsletter. Over 100,000 have signed a petition demanding his reinstatement.

This retaliation is unfortunately not unique to healthcare workers.

Zainab Chaudry, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) office in Maryland stated, “There’s a very real sense of fear within our communities about the implications of these kinds of incidents and the consequences of reporting and coming forward to demand justice. There’s a fear of consequences, of backlash, of intimidation, harassment, further perpetuation of the aggressions against the victim.”

From October 7 to October 24, 2023, CAIR received 774 requests for help and reports of bias incidents from Muslims across the US (182% increase). “We’re working seven days a week, around the clock, fielding incoming complaints.”