Discrimination lawsuit filed against Ypsilanti Tim Hortons

Exchange caught on video

YPSILANTI, Mich. – A couple claims they were discriminated against at the Tim Hortons restaurant in Ypsilanti in June. 

ORIGINAL STORY: CAIR-MI files complaint against Ypsilanti Tim Hortons on behalf of Muslim woman

The couple recorded the incident on video inside the Tim Hortons. The video shows an employee telling the couple to go back to their country.

"Go back to your country, (expletive)."

Ann Arbor Muslim customers 27-year-old Alaa Kouider and 31-year-old Ameur Dhaimini were not expecting to hear that phrase inside a local Tim Hortons restaurant while ordering.

"It’s just a cup of coffee," Kouider said. "It’s the cheapest thing on the menu.” 

Kouider said they were in the drive-thru at the Tim Hortons on Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti. She said they ordered coffee and it had too much cream in it, and they never got their second cup of coffee, so they went inside to ask for the correct order.

“I asked her, 'Can you please change the coffee?' and she immediately refused," Kouider said. "She said, 'I’m not going to serve you and if you have a problem, you can go to the other Tim Hortons that’s down the street.'” 

But that’s when things quickly took a turn for the worse. Kouider said the Tim Hortons employee got angry because they asked for their other cup of coffee. She even refused to serve them.

The couple, along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, Michigan, announced Friday that they were filing a civil rights complaint. Local 4 obtained the six-page complaint, which lists a charge of discrimination based on religion and nationality. 

“I do want a sincere apology and I want actions to change," Kouider said. "I want there to be training for employees or something, because it’s unacceptable."

The couple said that, although the incident happened last month, they didn't hear back from the Tim Hortons' corporate office until this week. They said the office offered them a free cup of coffee.

Local 4 contacted Tim Hortons, who released the following statement:

We always want team members and guests to have a positive, welcoming and rewarding experience at our restaurants. Franchisees are independent and responsible for all employment matters. The team member involved in this incident has been terminated by the franchise as Tim Hortons does not tolerate any type of harassment in the workplace.

Video of the exchange can be seen below.

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