Thursday, October 22, 2009

Settlement Reached In Suit Over Grooming Rules For Federal Building Guards

The Fresno Bee and the Sikh Coalition this week reported on the settlement of a lawsuit over the Department of Homeland Security's grooming rules for security officers hired under contract to guard federal buildings. Raghbir Singh, a Sikh who wore a turban and beard, was hired through a private security firm in 2005 to guard an IRS building. However he was forced off the job after he refused to comply with regulations of the Federal Protective Service that required security guards to be clean-shaven and wear a uniform and hat. After a lawsuit was filed in 2007, the FPS informally agreed to make religious accommodations in its grooming and headgear policy. In this week's settlement of the case, the federal government paid Singh $50,000 in damages for wrongful termination and the FPS has changed its grooming rules.