California Café Fights Muslim Discrimination Lawsuit

A Jewish-Muslim couple that owns Urth Caffe is denying accusations that seven women were forced to leave the California café because they were visibly Muslim. The West Hollywood café plans to counter-sue. The café is an artisanal coffee shop and restaurant with six different southern California locations. A discrimination lawsuit filed by the women on May 2nd alleges that they were made to leave the Laguna Beach café location last April because they were Muslim.

What is Discrimination? Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of people that fall into different or specific categories. The most common forms of discrimination in modern society are acts made on the grounds of race, age or sex.

Owners Shallom and Jilla Berkman, who are Jewish and Muslim, respectively, announced that they plan to counter-sue and stated that the entire discrimination lawsuit is a fraud on both the media and the California courts. The women were asked to leave, but the café insists that it was because they violated a policy stating that patrons must give up a table after 45 minutes during peak hours when the café is busy and others are waiting in line. The women (six of whom were wearing Muslim headscarves) insist that the restaurant was not full and that other customers who had been there just as long were not asked to leave.

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Sara Farsakh, wrote a Facebook post that went viral stating that what started as a night out with friends ending painfully and embarrassingly – a reminder of what it is like to be visibly Muslim. The legal counsel for the café owners states that the lawsuit is part of a broader purpose to portray a “victimization narrative” of Muslims. It was also noted that the incident is both sad and frustrating, mostly because the political agenda is being pushed at the expense of one of the area’s most diverse and welcoming businesses.

If you need assistance with a discrimination claim or if you simply have questions about a potentially discriminatory situation, please get in touch with the experienced southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.