A New Jersey woman charges a luxe Manhattan men’s store forced her to use her “sexuality” to sell clothes, and then fired her because she’s Muslim, according to a federal lawsuit.
Aiza Ejaz, 27, was hired in August 2017 to be operations manager for Arisoho on 471 West Broadway, which specializes in $800 cashmere turtlenecks, $2,400 Kelso leather jackets and other Italian casual wear, Manhattan federal court papers show.
When she was hired for the $60,000 position, her boss, Moshe Ben Ari, was unaware of her Pakistani or Muslim background, the suit says.
She was immediately instructed to “use her sexuality to lure men into the store,” the suit claims, with Ari explaining that he used attractive staffers as “bait.”
A store manager told Ejaz she was “shocked Ari was kind enough to hire you considering you’re Muslim — he’s so Jewish — he really doesn’t like Muslim people,” according to court papers.
Ari learned Ejaz was a Pakistani Muslim when he heard workers discussing their backgrounds and he “walked away in disgust,” according to court papers.
Things came to a head on Sept. 18, 2017, when Ari told Ejaz, “I hate Pakistani people and I don’t like f–king Muslim people — especially Muslim women,” court papers allege.
Ejaz complained to the store retail director.
Ejaz, who often worked 55-hour weeks, was fired the following day. The store manager claimed “she was not a good fit,” the suit says. This, despite the store manager once agreeing with Ejaz’s comment that Ari is “a racist and sexist,” according to court papers.
The discrimination suit, which names the Soho Merchandising group and Moshe Ben Ari as defendants, seeks unspecified damages. Ejaz and Ari could not be reached for comment. Ejaz attorney Johnmark Cohen said “things took a wrong turn” once Ari found out his client was “a Muslim woman from Pakistan.”
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