Posted at: 09/24/2012 7:10 PM
Updated at: 09/24/2012 9:08 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
Three Rochester Women File Federal Lawsuit Against Saudi Prince
(ABC 6 News) -- Two years ago, three Rochester women say they were fired because they were women. Now, they are filing a federal lawsuit against a Saudi prince and two local driving companies.
"Nobody wanted to respond to the issue," said Gretchen Cooper.
She is one of three women filing a federal lawsuit against a Saudi prince and two local driving companies after they say they were fired because the prince wanted only male drivers.
"I never thought that it could happen to me in the United States... Ever," she said.
Cooper, along with Barbara Herold and Lisa Boutelle, were among 50 hired to drive Saudi royals during a month-long visit in 2010. But after just one day of work, they were let go.
The lawsuit names Saudi prince Abdul-Rahman Bin Abdul-Aziz, Mohamed Elbashir, who works with Crown Prince limousine, Premier Crescent Servies-both Rochester based companies, and Highland International Transportation services of New York.
"All this time I've been very quiet, very peaceful and just trying to ya know, understand what happened to us," said Cooper.
And she's trying to spread understanding to the prince's home country. In Saudi Arabia, women's rights are a growing issue. It is the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive, something Cooper hopes to help change.
"My ultimate goal is to make people aware that these things happen way more than anyone would ever imagine and that we have a voice and we need to use it," she said.
And she will continue to use her voice to make sure, something like this doesn't happen again.
"We hope to make a real change so that this doesn't ever happen again... To anybody... ever."
The women are represented by Gender Justice. One of the lawyers says they have not seen a response from the Prince. We reached out to the two local defendants in the case. A man working at Premier Crescent Services said he did not want to talk and had no comment. The numbers listed on Crown Prince's website no longer work.