ADC Embroiled in Sexual Harassment Scandal

American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee official accused of harassing over a dozen women, firing employees who criticized investigation

November 12, 2013

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is undergoing a massive shakeup after over a dozen women accused one of its top officials of workplace sexual harassment.

An ADC spokesperson has been fired and four female staffers resigned after reportedly criticizing how the organization handled the allegations against ADC’s former Michigan director, Imad Hamad.

At least 15 women, including Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, have accused Hamad of sexual harassment, ranging from lewd comments to aggressive groping.

The ADC determined that there was "insufficient evidence" of harassment after an internal investigation. While Hamad stepped down from his position as Michigan director over the summer, he continues to serve as a senior adviser.

Raed Jarrar, the communications director for the ADC, told the Detroit Free Press that he was terminated last month after raising questions the legitimacy of the investigation.

ADC’s national vice president Nabil Mohamad denied that Jarrar’s firing was related to his inquiries about the case.

"That's two different issues, they're not related," Mohamad told the Washington Free Beacon. "It's being said by others, but not by the ADC."

Four female ADC employees at the national office have resigned in protest of Jarrar’s firing, according to the Detroit Free Press. The organization’s national president, Warren David, has also reportedly been placed on probation after refusing to punish employees who criticized the investigation.

Jarrar told the Detroit Free Press that ADC board member Safa Rifka ordered the retaliation against him and David.

Rifka, a prominent Syrian American doctor with close ties to the Assad regime, did not return a request for comment.

The former female employees who said Hamad sexually harassed them have formed the Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Harassment to advocate for victims.

An online petition signed by former ADC employees and members of the Arab American community says the ADC ignored internal complaints about harassment until media attention forced the group to launch an investigation. It also says the ADC concluded on its own that there was "insufficient evidence" of harassment, and this was not the determination of the outside investigator.

"We do not know the exact number of women Hamad harassed over the years since ADC has yet to disclose the findings of the report or the basis for its conclusions," says the petition.

The petition calls on the ADC to formally apologize, disclose the investigation’s findings, remove Hamad from his advisory role and reinstate Jarrar as communications director.

A staffer who answered the phone at the ADC office in Michigan said Hamad is currently out of the country for several days and could not immediately comment.