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EEOC Suite Files on Behalf of Five Sikh Employees
of the NY MTA

July 19, 2005

In today’s Yahoo News is a press release about a new policy by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority that has prompted a suite by Five Sikh Station Agents.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Sikh Coalition filed discrimination charges on behalf of the men with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

While the press release shows that the MTA has attempted to resolve this conflict and modified an earlier more repressive policy they had proposed, it points out that more communication between the policy makers, employees and public might have permitted the MTA to avoid this controversy altogether, as the "problem" they are trying to resolve may not be a problem at all. According to two of the MTA Sikh employees quoted in this press release, public using MTA facilities have never had any difficulty recognizing that Sikh employees are official representatives of the MTA which is what this rule is supposed to "solve".

Religious tolerance and respect for the beliefs and practices of others is central to democracy and the fact that New York City Council member David Weprin has introduced a bill that would bar discrimination in city agencies on the basis of religious headdress is a refreshing counterpart to legislation passed in France last year setting a policy diametrically opposed to this concept.

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