News East West
NEW YORK: A New Jersey Sikh, who was denied a job by a car dealership because of his long beard, will now be paid $50,000 as compensation by the car dealership.
Mr. Gurpreet S. Kherha had applied for a sales job at Tri-County Lexus, a car dealership in Little Falls in New Jersey in Feb 2008. But the company refused to hire him because of its `no beard’ policy.
Kherha took his case to the advocacy group Sikh Coalition and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They filed a discrimination case against the car dealership in Nov 2008. A lawsuit was also filed against the dealership in Feb 2010.
The car dealership has now reached an out-of-court settlement under which it will give Kherha $50,000 and change its discriminatory policies.
In a statement, Sikh Coalition said that as part of the settlement, Tri-County Lexus has also entered into a two-year consent decree with the federal government under which it will undertake a series of remedial measures.
These remedial measures include revising its policies to prohibit employment discrimination; providing ongoing trainings to all staff on anti-discrimination laws, and ensuring that a copy of its revised policies are provided to any applicant who requests a religious accommodation during the hiring or interviewing process.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will monitor the dealership’s compliance with the terms of the decree.
Gurjot Kaur, attorney with the Sikh Coalition, said, “As this settlement demonstrates, Sikh Americans have a right to live, work, and thrive in the U.S., just like anyone else. We will continue to stand up against employers who fail to understand their legal obligations to provide religious accommodations and keep Sikhs and other religious minorities out of the workplace.”