The New York correctional system has agreed to accommodate employee religious beliefs after a Muslim worker was told he could no longer wear a prayer cap.
The state must keep in place a process to review employee religious accommodation requests, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.
The department said the state's Department of Correctional Services agreed to incorporate the process under terms of a consent decree approved by a federal judge in New York. The decree settled a Justice Department lawsuit alleging the correctional system failed to accommodate the religious practices of correctional officers, DOJ officials said in a news release.
The suit, filed in March 2007, arose out of a case in which a Muslim correctional worker for years was permitted to wear a prayer cap, but in 2005 was told he must remove it while at work. The suit alleged DOCS had no policy to review requests for reasonable accommodation of religious practices as required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"Federal law prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of religion, and requires reasonable accommodation of employees' religious practices," said Michael Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "We are pleased that DOCS has agreed to give fair consideration to its uniformed officers' requests for such accommodations." [Link]
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