The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) issued a determination that National Wholesale Liquidators discriminated against a Sikh woman who was told to take off her turban and that Sikhs are “thieves and are nasty.” The Commission issued the finding after a year long investigation initiated when the victim in collaboration with the Sikh Coalition and a private attorney, Ravinder Singh (Bhalla),filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
The Sikh woman, Sukhvir Kaur, was ultimately fired from her job at a National Wholesale Liquidators store in Queens, New York. She had worked for National Wholesale Liquidators for over two years in the clothing department.
Ms. Kaur’s trouble began when her employer hired a new manager during the summer of 2004. The manager told her that he did not want Indians and Pakistanis working at the store, and that he preferred Guyanese and Spanish employees. He said that Indian and Pakistani employees were “dirty” and “nasty” and that Sikh employees are “thieves.”
In addition to speaking in derogatory terms about her religion and ethnicity, Ms. Kaur’s manager also told her to take off her turban because he liked women with long hair. He said also asked Ms. Kaur to wear western clothing it is tighter fitting and would look more attractive to him.
When Sukhvir Kaur refused her manager’s advances, he retaliated against her by requiring her to clean bathrooms. Her manager told her that if she ever complained to anyone about him, he would report to the police that she had been stealing from the store. Ms. Kaur was ultimately fired by her manager because she refused his advances during October 2004. [Email from the Sikh Coalition]
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