Sotheby's
A Muslim man claims he was fired from his job as a guard at Sotheby's after his pro-Israel boss found out he was Palestinian.REUTERS/Jacob Silberberg

A Muslim security guard is suing Sotheby's auction house in New York for $4.5m (£2.8m), claiming he was fired after his pro-Israel boss found out he was Palestinian.

The Brooklyn man, identified as Zakher Hamad, is suing Andrews International after he was fired from his well-paying job and was not given a replacement position.

In his Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, Hamad said he told Andrews that he had "worked in law enforcement in Palestine while still living in the Gaza Strip" during his job interviews. Andrews verified his credentials and performed a background check before hiring Hamad in May 2014, according to the NY Post.

Hamad was given a $24-an-hour position at Sotheby's in November of 2014. While he received a $4-an-hour wage increase, Hamad claims he was harassed by fellow Andrews employees. The 44-year-old said that he colleagues told him "Israel should demolish Palestine" and that "the best Arab is a dead Arab".

The lawsuit then goes on to claim that Sotheby's security director learned Hamad's nationality and promptly fired him the following day.

Sotheby's and employer deny discrimination

Sotheby's denies allowing discrimination at the auction house. A company spokesman told reporters it "does not condone harassment or discrimination in the workplace".

Hamad reportedly told Andrews of the discrimination but was allegedly told: "We like you, but we can't lose the contract with Sotheby's."

Andrews never gave Hamad a new position it had promised, leaving him unemployed. According to the Post, Hamad is suing the security firm for discriminatory statements, harassment based on religion and unlawful termination.

Paul Lutz, the security firm's lawyer, told the Post that the security guard had "performance-related issues that arose during his employment". Lutz added: "There's a lot more to the story than he was terminated for human rights-related reasons."