Muslim employees of a hotel in Washington complain of discrimination as they were removed from the premises during Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak's stay in this capital city, a civil rights group representing them says. A protest letter was handed over to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel's management on Wednesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of the alleged discrimination towards its Muslim staff, calling for an investigation. Barak visited Washington on Dec. 10 and 11 and met with Vice President Joe Biden, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, among others, over the Israeli-Palestinian talks and the (illegal) settlement issue. One supervisor at the hotel reportedly told a Muslim worker that the Israeli delegation don't want no face-to-face with Muslims. The hotel's general manager, Amanda Hyndman, said she told some employees not to come in after the State Department had found irregularities in routine background checks on them before the Israeli visit, The Washington Post reported. "We don't know the reasons why," Hyndman was quoted as saying in The Washington Post. She said she did not know whether any Muslim employees were allowed to work on the eighth and ninth floors over the weekend. After receiving a letter Tuesday from the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, Hyndman said the hotel planned to investigate the incident. "We uphold our policies of anti-discrimination," she said. An official at the Israeli Embassy said that "as a policy, the embassy does not discuss the logistical arrangements for visiting Israeli officials." A State Department official said routine background checks are conducted on people who "may have access to, or be working in, the vicinity of the official we are protecting." The official said that "at no time do these checks include questions regarding religious or political affiliation" and that the same standards are applied for for all delegations. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, said that the organization was waiting for a formal response from the hotel and that it might consider litigation. "We need to determine what criteria were used to remove these people from their positions," he said. "It's of concern to us that there's at least a perception that they were singled out because they were Muslim or Middle Eastern." The one worker said that after he was barred from the floors in question, co-workers teased him about being a terrorist, according to the Post. "In the cafeteria, they were looking at me, laughing, saying: 'Ah, they don't want you there. They maybe think you have a bomb in your belly?' said the worker, who came to the United States from Africa more than two decades ago. He said he had worked in proximity to other VIPs, such as George W. Bush, with no security concerns. "I don't care about Israel. To me, it's just another country," he said. "I work for [the hotel] 12, 14 hours a day, and they profile me like I'm a criminal, like I'm going to harm them. I'm like, 'If I'm going to harm them, why would you keep me in your hotel even one day?' In a similar case in 2004, a Muslim security guard at the Madison Hotel was told to stay away from the 10th floor while an Israeli delegation was there. In that case, the hotel's general manager said the request was made by security units guarding the delegation.