"[Victory] $75K settlement in Religious Discrimination Case in California"
United Sikhs, January 5, 2015
San Francisco, California - UNITED SIKHS' client Sarabjit Kaur has won a $75K settlement in her religious discrimination case against her previous employer,Inter-Con Security Systems, Inc. She had just started wearing a Sikh head covering to work when she started facing all kinds of harassment and humiliation at the hands of her superiors, and was asked to remove it. Last year, the EEOC determined that Inter-Con discriminated against Ms.Kaur because of her Sikh religion,by failing to provide a religious accommodation, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In their continued representation of Ms.Kaur, UNITED SIKHS' attorneys co-counseled with attorneys at Bryan Schwartz Law, a California firm, for the EEOC conciliation process and for securing this settlement.
Expressing her gratitude to UNITED SIKHS, Ms.Kaur said "I approached UNITED SIKHS over seven years ago when I was being discriminated against at my workplace. I had just gotten initiated into the Sikh faith, and started wearing a head covering to work. My superiors would harass me, ask me to remove the head covering, and one of them even went to the extent of saying that I looked more beautiful without it. I protested, and what followed was routine harassment spanning almost four years. I wasn't even spared during my pregnancy, and was even demoted from my position. The higher management simply turned a blind eye to all of this. If it weren't for UNITED SIKHS, I wouldn't be here today. They gave me all possible legal help for over seven years. They also gave me some much needed counseling during my rough years of employment, and during my pregnancy. Though it cannot undo the ordeal I went through, this settlement will help me make up for lost wages and medical expenditures. It's a huge help and will give me and my family a fresh start. I am extremely grateful to this organization for all that they have done. I hope and pray that our community will continue to support them."
While making a determination in Ms.Kaur's case, the EEOC also determined that Inter-Con discriminated against a class of individuals by maintaining grooming standards which deny individuals of different races, national origins and religions an equal opportunity to be hired, in violation of Title VII.
"We are elated for Ms.Kaur. Our hard work for all these years has finally paid off. This settlement sends a message to employers that they cannot get away with discriminating against employees on the basis of their faith and appearances, and reminds them that this country was founded with religious freedom as one its principles.We are grateful to our partners at Bryan Schwartz Law who helped secure this settlement," said Manmeet Singh, Staff Attorney for UNITED SIKHS, and one of the attorneys in this case.
"It has been an honor to work with UNITED SIKHS to finally obtain vindication for this religious discrimination victim so many years after she first complained. I look forward to continuing to work with the organization to enforce protections and religious accommodations in the workplace for all Sikhs in America," added Bryan Schwartz, founder and lead attorney at Bryan Schwartz Law.
We are humbled to start this new year with an advocacy victory and it only strengthens our belief that with your support, we can make a difference.
To read about our last victory, please click here.
Issued by Mejindarpal Kaur,
International Legal Director, UNITED SIKHS