Two former "Amazing Race" contestants have filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against an Ottawa hospital, alleging they were not hired because of their race and religion.
Twin brothers Idries and Jamil Abdur-Rahman, who practice obstetrics and gynecology, claim they were not hired by the OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in northern Illinois because they are Muslim African-Americans who practice Islam.
According to the suit, the Abdur-Rahmans worked for the Community Hospital of Ottawa, later renamed the Ottawa Regional Hospital & Healthcare Center, on an independent contractor basis while maintaining their own practice. In May 2012, Ottowa Regional merged with OSF Healthcare System, and changed its name to OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center.
Following the merger, the brothers were asked to sign an agreement to abide by “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” as physicians at OSF Saint Elizabeth, should they be employed by the group. At a meeting in July 2012, the president and Chief Medical Officer of OSF Medical Group allegedly told the Abdur-Rahmans the hospital would make an “impressive offer to hire them,” following a verbal assurance that the brothers would abide by the ethical and religious directives.
In December of 2012, the Abdur-Rahmans were told that the hospital group had decided not to hire them, with one reason being that the brothers were “unlikely to abide by” the religious and ethical directives.
The lawsuit alleges two counts of violation of Title VII for failure to hire because of religion and race, and two counts of violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act for failure to hire because of religion and race.
The suit seeks back pay plus interest, compensatory damages, loss in benefits and other costs.
The brothers are now practicing with Gurnee-based Vista Physician Group, according to the group’s website. Jamil Abdur-Rahman now lives in northwest suburban Barrington, and Idries Adbur-Rahman currently lives in north suburban Grayslake. The men appeared on season 22 of the Amazing Race reality television series in 2013, the Lake County News-Sun reported at the time.
Representatives from OSF Saint Elizabeth Medica Center could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.