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A former Sikh police officer has filed a federal discrimination complaint against New York Police Department with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that his services were terminated because of his refusal to remove his turban and trim his beard.
After passing required tests Americ Singh Rathour was sworn in as a traffic enforcement agent with the NYPD on June 18 last year, according to the complaint filed with the Commission on Monday.
During his training period, he and his supervisors clashed over his wearing a turban and keeping a beard, it said.
Subsequently, the services of Americ Singh Rathour (25) were terminated in August 27 last year.
Stating that his superiors harassed him, Singh said, "They (superiors) repeatedly tried to pressure me to remove my turban and trim my beard and I felt I was being punished because of my unwillingness to compromise on my religion."
"The NYPD forced Americ to choose between his religion and his livelihood. This is a choice that no one should be forced to make," Harpreet Singh, director Sikh Coalition, said.
"We made many attempts through letters and phone calls to (Police) Commissioner Kelly's office and to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to resolve this matter through discussion. All these efforts were completely ignored by them," Singh said.
Over 8,000 persons have signed an online petition to the Mayor asking that turban should not be banned in the NYPD.
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