Sikh Fired From Visalia IRS Job Settles Case

October 20, 2009

Author: Pablo Lopez

Source: The Fresno Bee

A Selma man who was fired from his federal security-guard job for refusing to shave his beard and take off his religious turban has reached a legal settlement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Raghbir Singh, 69, argued in U.S. District Court in San Francisco that as an observant Sikh, he must wear a beard and turban.

In 2005, he was fired from his job at the Internal Revenue Service in Visalia because federal grooming standards mandated that security guards be clean-shaven and wear a uniform and hat.

As part of the settlement, the federal government paid Singh $50,000 in damages for wrongful termination, court records show.

The federal government also changed its grooming policy to accommodate religious beliefs, said San Francisco attorney Khari Tillery, who represented Singh pro bono along with the Sikh Coalition and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.