Arab Worker Sues over Firing for Memorial Day Disrespect

May 5, 2012  

An Israeli-Arab woman from Taibe who was fired from her job at a supermarket in Raanana has filed suit against the Mega chain, Channel 2 reports. The woman says she was fired for refusing to stand in respect as a siren sounded in memory of fallen IDF soldiers – and claims that the expectation that she stand was offensive to her as an Arab.

Mega fired the woman, Haj Yahye, after a customer complained that she had not only not stopped in respect as the siren sounded, but had begun to sing.

Yahye admits that she continued to work during the siren and did not stand in respect, but denies singing. She claims not to have known that Israelis traditionally stand during the siren.

However, Yahye admits that she refused to stand even after she realized others found her behavior offensive. “She did not see fit to participate in the two minutes of silence, because it goes against her belief system, and is hurtful to her as a Palestinian Arab,” her lawyer said.

“How could she take part in a minute of silence in memory of something that, to her, symbolizes more than anything else the tragedy that befell her people?” he asked.

Yahye is suing over the way she was fired in addition to the cause. She argues that she was “extremely humiliated” when the Mega supermarket asked her to leave work in the middle of the workday. In addition, she argues that she was never granted a hearing, despite having been an exemplary employee.

She demands that Mega reinstate her, apologize, and give her financial compensation for her emotional suffering.

Mega has released a statement defending its decision to fire Yahye. According to the statement, Yahye “chose to ‘break into song’ in a hurtful and offensive manner while everyone else – customers and employees alike – stood for a moment of silence in memory of the fallen.”

“Mega views this behavior by an employee as completely unacceptable. Therefore, the employee was fired after a hearing,” the statement concluded.

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