We previously reported on a case involving Curtis De Veaux, a Muslim, who refused -- for religious reasons -- to shave his beard as a condition of remaining employed as a firefighter in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release indicating that it has offered to mediate the dispute.
The arguments for CAIR and the city are straightforward. On one hand, the city argues that "safety concerns should prevent a Muslim firefighter from wearing a religious beard. The city says facial hair interferes with the tight seal needed on face masks." CAIR counters by noting that "alternative types of face masks... might satisfy safety and religious concerns." CAIR also cites an OSHA interpretation that reads in relevant part, "The OSHA standard does allow beards with the use of respirators that do not rely on a tight face piece seal between the respirator inlet covering and the underlying skin (i.e., both loose fitting helmets and hoods are acceptable in this regard)."
As we noted in June, this story has garnered national attention. More details to follow when they become available.
UPDATE: Judge Says No Beard for Muslim Firefighter.
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