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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Omni Hotels Corp. on Monday, charging that it fired a hotel manager because he was Arabic and Muslim and had opposed job practices he considered illegal. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Dallas, Texas on behalf of Mohamed S. Elmougy, who managed the chain’s Omni Mandalay Hotel in Irving, Texas for about 18 months. The agency said the company began discriminating against Elmougy in early 2001 and retaliated against him after he objected to orders to put Hispanic restaurant waiters in less-public jobs. Omni, which is based in Irving, denied discriminating against Elmougy or Hispanics in the hotel restaurant. “We haven’t done anything wrong, and we will vigorously defend against this action,” said Joy Rothschild, the chain’s senior vice president of human resources. Rothschild said Elmougy wasn’t fired but instead quit in late 2001 after declining a transfer to become general manager of the larger Omni Shoreham in Washington D.C. She said Elmougy was offered a transfer because “we needed a change in leadership at the Omni Mandalay Hotel,” but she declined to be more specific. The EEOC asked the court to award Elmougy back pay and lost income — estimated at $400,000 — plus compensation for humiliation and punitive damages. It also asked that the company be forced to provide policies and training to prevent and correct discrimination based on origin or religion. Besides the corporate parent, Omni Hotels Management Corp. and Omni Hotels of Texas Inc. were named as defendants. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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