Wednesday, September 10, 2008

3rd Circuit Hears Oral Arguments In Title VII Muslim Police Officer Case

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that yesterday the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Webb v. City of Philadelphia, a case in which a Pennsylvania federal district court rejected a Title VII religious discrimination claim brought by a Muslim police officer who wanted to cover her head for religious reasons with a khimar. (See prior posting.) She requested a religious accommodation under the 1964 Civil Rights Act after male Muslim police officers were allowed to wear beards. Officer Kimberlie Webb has a custom-made khimar with a Velcro fastener so that it breaks away if someone grabs at it. Eleanor Ewing, arguing for the city, said Philadelphia's police uniform policy was intended to maintain religious neutrality. However, apparently other officers have been allowed to wear Christian crosses and angel pins.