8 Jan - USA:
The Sikh Coalition filed suit against the federal government this week to protect a Sikh employee's right to wear her kirpan to work. The lawsuit alleges that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Federal Protective Service (FPS) discriminated against Kawaljeet Kaur Tagore by prohibiting her from carrying a kirpan, a mandatory article of faith, on her job as a revenue agent at the Mickey Leland Federal Building in downtown Houston. Ms. Tagore was fired from her job in July 2006 because she refused to remove her kirpan.Link
"Sikhs should be entitled to work for their government, just like other Americans. In this case, the government put Ms. Tagore in the unacceptable position of choosing between her religion and her job." said Harsimran Kaur, the Sikh Coalition's Legal Director.
The lawsuit claims that the government's conduct violated both the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. It alleges that the FPS and IRS banned the
kirpan as a so-called "dangerous weapon," even though the government
allows hundreds of sharp knives and box cutters in the Leland
Building. Government officials banned Tagore's kirpan sight unseen,
failing to conduct any examination whatsoever of the kirpan before
banning it outright.
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