Home News Arab-Muslim lawyer files lawsuit against Chicago-based firm over revoked job offer

Arab-Muslim lawyer files lawsuit against Chicago-based firm over revoked job offer


A Lebanese-American lawyer accused a national law firm of discrimination in a recently filed lawsuit alleging she was fired the day before she was set to start a job at the firm’s Chicago office in late October because of her Muslim and Arab identity.

Jinan Chehade alleged in a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court that Foley & Lardner discriminated against her because of her Arab Muslim background and political statements she’d made on social media and at public meetings about Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

According to the complaint, Chehade, a Georgetown Law School graduate, had been interning with Foley & Lardner in July 2022 when they offered her a full-time position to begin in fall 2023. Then, 15 hours before she was set to start work, she was fired, according to the complaint.

The Sunday before her slated first day of work, Foley & Lardner asked her to come to the office where she said they interrogated her for two hours “in a very hostile manner,” Chehade alleged in the complaint.

“As soon as we all sat down, they pulled out a packet of about 15 to 20 pages with screenshots of my social media posts, about speeches that I’ve made, about my background, my identity,” Chehade said. “When I really started to feel the anxiety and panic was when they asked me about my dad, and where he worked – and obviously as a child of immigrants, a big law firm asking you about your father… alarm bells just started going off in my head,” Chehade told the Tribune in an interview Thursday.

Chehade’s father, she said, works at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview.

The firm also questioned her about her associations with Students for Justice in Palestine and public comments she had made regarding a proposed ceasefire resolution at a Chicago City Council Meeting, said Chehade, who is Lebanese but has family who live in Gaza.

Weeks before Chehade was fired, Hamas attacked Israel and killed about 1,200 people and took about 250 hostages. Israel responded to the attack – which followed decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians following the state’s founding in 1948, including encroachment by Israeli settlers onto Palestinian land – killing nearly 34,000 Palestinians since Oct. 7.

“It was devastating when they turned against me and vilified me in this way when I really respected their supposed commitment to diversity,” Chehade said.

In an emailed statement, a Foley & Lardner representative said they believed Chehade’s complaint was “without merit.”

“We stand behind our decision to rescind Ms. Chehade’s employment offer as a result of the statements she made surrounding the horrendous attacks by Hamas on October 7,” a firm representative said.

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