Jewish-Arab Women Wins $40K in Discrimination Suit

Shoshana Hebshi, handcuffed and strip-searched, charged Frontier Airlines for singling out her Middle Eastern name.

Cynthia Blank,

Airport security
Airport security

A settlement has been reached in the case of a Jewish-Arab American woman who sued Frontier Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration for discrimination and racial profiling.  

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a news release that Ohio resident Shoshana Hebshi, 36, would receive $40,000 as compensation for the "severe humiliation [she] suffered."

In addition, the ACLU said, Frontier has agreed to amend its employee handbook to “more clearly state its zero-tolerance policy on discrimination.”

The incident in question occurred on September 11, 2011 when Hebshi was returning home from a visit to her sister in California. Armed men boarded the plane and arrested her. 

Hebshi was escorted off of Frontier Airline flight 623 after it landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. She was handcuffed, held for hours, questioned and strip searched in cell, before being released without explanation. 

In the suit, the ACLU charged that Hebshi, born to a Jewish mother and a Saudi father, was singled out because of her Middle Eastern name and dark-skinned appearance.

“I filed this lawsuit because I didn’t want others to experience the kind of unnecessary trauma that I did, and it has given me faith that the justice system can work to protect constitutional rights,” Hebshi said in the news release.