A spokesperson for workers at Maine’s long-term health care centers is claiming in a federal lawsuit that he was discriminated against by a former employer because he is an Arab Muslim and his brother died fighting for the Islamic State terrorist group.
Geriatrics specialist Dr. Jabbar Fazeli states in the whistleblower lawsuit that his contract as medical director at three Cumberland County assisted living centers owned by Northbridge Stroudwater was terminated in late 2018, two years after his brother, former Maine resident Adnan Fazeli, died fighting for the Islamic State on the Lebanon border in January 2015. Dr. Fazeli had informed the FBI of his brother’s radicalization years before.
Northbridge Stroudwater Chairman James Coughlin and Fazeli declined to comment on the lawsuit when the Portland Press Herald contacted them on Monday, according to the Herald.
Fazeli serves as spokesperson for the Maine Medical Directors Association, an organization representing nursing home medical directors, and is likely best known in Maine for speaking out in May about what he said was a lack of testing of patients and staff at nursing homes and other long-term facilities.
The civil lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday, alleges that high-ranking leaders at Northbridge discussed how the company’s “business interests would suffer if patients knew about Dr. Fazeli’s Middle Eastern origins and Islamic background,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that as his brother’s story became more widely known, the doctor was treated at Avita and two other Northbridge facilities “with increasing bias and disrespect.” Medical orders by Fazeli were disregarded and he was shunned at company events. As medical director, Fazeli was bypassed several times in company decisions, according to the lawsuit.
Fazeli alleges in the lawsuit that his contract was terminated because he clashed with colleagues at Northbridge over the prescription of medications for patients. He seeks punitive and compensatory damages.