“There are no nuances to be discerned regarding the Holocaust”; Holocaust-Denier’s Discrimination Claim Dismissed


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected a teacher’s claims of race, ethnicity and religion discrimination under federal and state law, finding that his termination was legitimately based on his teaching anti-Semitic views to his students.

In Ali v. Woodbridge Township School Dist. et al., the teacher, who was an Egyptian Muslim, was terminated following complaints that his instruction minimized or denied the Holocaust, and included links to anti-Semitic writings. He sued for discriminatory termination and a hostile work environment, among other things, alleging that the principal had made disparaging comments about his ethnicity (calling him “Arabia Nights,” “Big Egypt,” and “Mufasa” from the Lion King).

The Third Circuit began its opinion by flatly asserting that, while there may be nuances in history that create equivocation about certain historic events, no such nuances exist with regard to the Holocaust; rather “It is a historic fact.” The Third Circuit thus rejected the teacher’s claims, finding no pretext for discrimination in the school’s articulated reasons for his termination, as the teacher did not deny that he engaged in the anti-Semitic conduct, including teaching Holocaust-denial, without remorse. The Third Circuit further found that the alleged disparaging name-calling was neither sufficiently severe nor pervasive to create a hostile work environment.