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Dismissal of Muslim Guide’s Lawsuit Sought

The Capitol Guide Service Board has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former employee who claims she was fired because she is an Iranian-born Muslim.

Afssar Pari Delfani, who worked as a tour guide from March 1998 to September 2002, opposed the motion to dismiss her case. In her complaint, she alleges that she was terminated because of her “race, national origin and religion, and also by reprisal.”

Neither of the documents is available to the public, however, because U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts granted the government’s unopposed motion to have them sealed, an unusual if not unprecedented decision for a case brought under the Congressional Accountability Act.

The Senate chief counsel for employment, Jean Manning, represents the guide service board because its employees are paid by the Senate. The board is comprised of Architect of the Capitol Alan Hantman, House Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Pickle, who currently chairs the panel.

Delfani filed her case in U.S. District Court for D.C. in late April, requesting a jury trial and reinstatement to her position with back pay, benefits and unspecified compensatory damages.

The CAA gives legislative branch employees the protection of 11 civil rights, fair-employment and anti-discrimination laws that prior to 1995 had not been applicable to Congress. After required counseling and mediation at the Office of Compliance, an independent legislative branch agency created by the CAA, an employee may file a complaint with the OOC or in federal district court.

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