Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Court Allows NYC Muslim Bus Driver To Move Ahead With Challenge To Headwear Policy

In Muhammad v. New York City Transit Authority, (ED NY, Sept. 30, 2014), a New York federal district court denied the Transit Authority's motion for summary judgment in a suit filed against it by a female Muslim bus driver who was reassigned to a less desirable position after she refused to remove her khimar or cover it with a Transit Authority uniform cap. Originally filed in 2004, the lawsuit alleges violations of Title VII and the First Amendment. The court concluded that a reasonable jury could find that the Transit Authority failed to offer plaintiff a reasonable accommodation of her religious beliefs. It also concluded that plaintiff had presented a prima facie case of disparate impact under Title VII and religious discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. Two years ago, the Transit Authority settled a parallel suit brought against it by the U.S. Department of Justice. (See prior posting.)