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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Judge: Safety trumps religious protection in Muslim firefighter case

On September 23, 2005, the Associated Press reported, "A Muslim firefighter cannot wear a beard on the job because of the safety risk that facial hair poses, a judge ruled yesterday. Curtis De Veaux sued the city on grounds that the ban infringed on his Muslim faith, which generally requires men to grow beards. But the state judge sided with the city, calling safety a compelling interest that warrants an exception under the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act. The city had argued that beards interfere with the tight seal firefighters need on their respiratory masks, which deliver oxygen and keep out dangerous toxins. The American Civil Liberties Union's local chapter, which represented De Veaux, plans to appeal the ruling to Commonwealth Court, lawyer Mary Catherine Roper said."

This article cross-posted at the Pluralism Project's Religious Diversity News. There, you can read more on Backlash and Bias in the Workplace (after 9/11) or more broad issues concerning religion in the workplace.

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