US authorities sue firm for not hiring Sikh

July 2nd, 2008 - 11:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, July 2 (IANS) US authorities have sued a Texas company accusing it of religious discrimination in not hiring a Sikh on the basis of his appearance. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is seeking back pay and punitive damages for pain and suffering caused to Sukhdev Singh Brar, a certified security officer in the Dallas area, the CBS news network has reported.

In a case filed last week, the commission also wants a judge to order the company to change its hiring practices.

Brar had applied to the Champion National Security Firm in Richardson back in October 2005.

He was called for an interview, but told by the hiring agent to shave and take off his turban, Brar was quoted as saying.

Brar told the company representative that what was demanded of him was against federal law and his religion. Yet, the representative insisted, “This is our company policy and we cannot change our company policy.”

Bill Backhaus of EEOC said: “Essentially, they’re asking, demanding someone give up their deeply held religious beliefs for a job. In that regard, I think it’s very egregious.”

Before the EEOC filed the lawsuit against Champion National Security, it tried to resolve the case, but in vain.

A company attorney, however, told CBS that they had not seen the lawsuit yet. But he claimed they do not discriminate, and have a good track record of hiring a diverse workforce.

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