Yuba City Police Chief Apologizes to Sikh American Denied Employment

March 7, 2007

Source: Sikh American Legal and Defense Fund Press Release


Washington D.C.--March 7, 2007: The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation's oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization, received a formal letter of apology from Yuba City Police Chief Robert Doscher for denying employment to Mr. Harvir Singh Uppal as he sought to become a police cadet.

Mr. Uppal, a 19 year old student and adherent of the Sikh faith, was interviewed by Officer Kim Slade, Director of the Yuba City Police Department Cadet Program, for a position as a cadet. A week later, Mr. Uppal contacted Officer Slade to check the status of his application at which time he was informed upon conferring with the Chief of Police and the City Attorney that, "though the turban was acceptable, the beard does not conform to the uniform standards of the police department and it would have to be shaved off".

SALDEF contacted Yuba City Police Chief Doscher and Mayor John Miller informing them of the discriminatory nature of this policy and recommended the necessary steps to remedy the situation quickly and to the satisfaction of Mr. Uppal.

In a letter of apology to SALDEF, Chief Doscher noted, “We [Yuba City Police Department] have no policy which precludes an employee of the Sikh faith from wearing a turban or beard (or possession of a kirpan) during their employment with us.” He added, “Please accept this as an unintentional oversight by one of my staff officers, which I take responsibility for."