Iranian-Born Scientist Sues UAB Claiming Co-Worker Pointed A Gun At Her In Racist Attack

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University Of Alabama At Birmingham

The roots of hate run deep in the United States, as research scientist Fariba Moeinpour is all too aware.

For 9 years, Moeinpour — a research scientist University of Alabama at Birmingham — endured daily verbal and physical abuse from coworker Mary Jo Cagle.

Fariba Moeinpour has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Moeinpour was born in Iran and moved to the United States in 1989 where she has since become a naturalized citizen and worked as a research scientist.

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Since 2011 Moeinpour worked in a lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she began enduring abuse from Cagle.

In the lawsuit, Moeinpour alleges that Cagle viciously attacked her using terms of racial abuse and by telling her to “go back to Iran” and that “our country does not need your kind.”

But the abuse didn’t just stop at verbal attacks.

Moeinpour also claims that Cagle threatened with a gun.

Cagle once nearly ran Moeinour and her daughter over with a car. Another time, Cagle threatened Moeinpour with a handgun, saying that “this is what ‘we’ do with ‘sand n-----.’”

Moeinpour says she reached out to her boss on several occasions for help dealing with her violent coworker and was turned away with no help again and again.

After seeking help from her institution and getting none, Moeinour said, “The abuse just continued and continued and continued, and nobody would help me, not Dr. Grubbs, not UAB, not anybody. I had to tolerate everything, because I am a scientist and I needed this job, because I have a daughter.”

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Moeinpour even alleges that Cagle recruited other coworkers to her twisted cause, baselessly attacking Moeinpour’s intelligence, background, religious beliefs and even her accent.

Fariba Moeinpour endured her abuse for 9 years to support herself and her daughter.

In February of 2020, Moeinpour decided to take the brave step of going above her — totally unhelpful — superiors and filing a complaint with Human Relations over Cagle’s threats against Moeinpour’s life.

The lawsuit then alleges that Moeinpour’s boss, Dr. Clinton Grubbs did not take the news well, not because one of his subordinates felt that her life was threatened, but because he thought that he might lose his job for failing to report Cagle’s abuse. What followed is somehow as disgusting as, if not even more so than, Cagle’s actions.

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Moeinpour claims that Dr. Grubbs proceeded to call the police in an attempt to silence Moeinpour and physically attacked her, cutting her face with his nails and knocking her to the ground.

Moeinpour fought back against her supervisor before being collected by the police and fired shortly after.

No interview, no interest in Moeinpour’s side of the story, the University of Alabama at Birmingham just fired her.

It remains to be seen what will become of Moeinpour’s lawsuit but needless to say Moeinpour is just the latest in a long line of people victimized for their racial or ethnic background in the United States.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.