Media InquiriesPrimary Press Contact: Mark Reading-Smith
Media & Communications Director, the Sikh Coalition
Secondary Press Contact: Jagmeet Singh
Media & Communications Manager, the Sikh Coalition
Discrimination Settlement Reached with U.S. Trucking GiantNovember 15, 2016 (Los Angeles, California) – After a seven-year federal investigation, four Sikh truck drivers reached a settlement agreement with American trucking giant J.B. Hunt, after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found evidence that the company had discriminated against them due to their religious articles of faith.
J.B. Hunt has agreed to pay $260,000 in damages, and has agreed to amend company policies and practices to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws. While the economic damages alleviate some of the losses incurred by the four California Sikh clients, the broader policy changes will positively impact Sikhs and other employees who may face discrimination in the company’s workplace. For example, the company will be obligated to train its hiring personnel on anti-discrimination law and submit reports to the EEOC for the next two years about its workplace anti-discrimination efforts.
Sikhs, who have been an integral piece of California’s economy for over 125 years, are religiously mandated to maintain articles of faith, including unshorn hair and turbans. An estimated 500,000 Sikhs live in the United States and about half of the population lives in California.
“I am relieved by this resolution because no one should have to face humiliation because of their religious beliefs,” said the lead complainant, Jagtar Singh Anandpuri. “I have been driving a truck for years, and I know there is nothing about my faith that interferes with my ability to do my job.”
Three clients were denied accommodations after they informed the company that they could not cut their religiously mandated hair for drug testing. The fourth client was denied an accommodation to the company’s demand that he remove his turban while providing a urine sample. In each case, J.B. Hunt automatically denied employment, despite the client’s otherwise impeccable job qualifications.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, which imposes safety standards and regulations on the commercial trucking industry, does not require hair sample tests for employment. Nonetheless, alternative forms of drug testing are available, including nail sample tests.
“Our clients repeatedly asked for alternatives within the drug testing regimes that would allow them to follow their religious tenets, and those requests were denied. Thankfully J.B. Hunt has finally switched gears and moved into the right lane to comply with federal anti-discrimination law,” said the Sikh Coalition’s Legal Director, Harsimran Kaur.
The Sikh Coalition has represented the clients in this case since 2008 with the Stanford Law School Religious Liberty Clinic joining as co-counsel in 2013.
"Employers have a legal and moral duty to honor the religious identity and expression of their workers," said the Stanford clinic's director, James A. Sonne. "This settlement encourages Sikh Americans everywhere, including at J.B. Hunt, that they can maintain their articles of faith without sacrificing their livelihood - as is their right."
The Sikh Coalition is the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States and has represented several Sikh clients in high profile religious discrimination cases for nearly 15 years. For more information on this case or to interview one our legal experts involved in this lawsuit, please contact Mark Reading-Smith or Jagmeet Singh.
Recent Press Releases Issued:
- (November 15, 2016) Discrimination Settlement Reached with U.S. Trucking Giant
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- (October 7, 2016) Turbaned Sikh Urges Hate Crime Investigation After Unprovoked Attack
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- (September 15, 2016) Groundbreaking Sikh Photo Exhibition Launches September 17th
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- (March 29, 2016) Second Lawsuit Filed in Fight To End Military Religious Discrimination
- (March 4, 2016) Court Denies Discriminatory Test for Decorated Sikh Soldier, Defends Religious Freedom
- (March 1, 2016) Hate Crime Charges Finally Filed in Brutal L.A. Bus Driver Assault
- (February 29, 2016)Decorated Sikh Soldier Files Lawsuit After Military Denies Religious Freedom
- (February 2, 2016) New Reporting Tool Launched To Combat Spike in Bigoted Backlash
- (January 13, 2016) LA Sikh Bus Driver Assaulted and Called “Terrorist”
- (December 14, 2015) Landmark Sikh Military Accommodation Reinforces Need To End Discriminatory Ban
- (December 8, 2015) Orange County House of Worship Vandalized With ISIS Hate Language
- (October 22, 2015) From Oak Creek To Chapel Hill: Hate Crime Tragedies Shared With Congress
- (September 15 2015) Sikhs Applaud New Hate Crime Charge, Proceed With Chicago Press Conference Today
- (September 14, 2015) Sikh Hate Crime Press Conference: Tuesday at 11am CST
- (September 11, 2015) Sikhs Demand Federal Hate Crime Prosecution After DuPage Prosecutor Fails
- (September 9, 2015) Chicago Sikh American Assaulted in Hate Crime Last Night
- (June 18, 2015) Sikh Americans Mourn in Wake of Charleston Tragedy Prompted by Hate
- (June 15, 2015) New Court Ruling Progress For Ending Religious Discrimination in Military
- (April 1, 2015) Sikhs Demand LGBT Fix, But No Nix To RFRA Law
- (March 25, 2015) Sikhs Finally Represented in FBI Hate Crime Tracking Program
- (January 29, 2015) New Case Highlights Pentagon’s Failure To Resolve Religious Discrimination
- (December 8, 2014) Sikh Coalition Rejects Flawed and Misleading DOJ Racial Profiling Guidance
- (December 6, 2014) Reports on New Racial Profiling Guidance Shocking to Sikh Community
- (November 19, 2014) HASC Hearing on Religious Accommodations Fails to Address Sikh Loophole
- (August 29, 2014) Sikhs Launch Viral Video to Call 'Foul' on FIBA Turban Ban
- (August 14, 2014) Sikh Hate Crime Targets Demand Action from NYC Government: Recent Hate Attacks Linked to Government Inaction and NYPD Discrimination
- (August 12, 2014) Sikh Hate Crime Targets Demand Action from NYC Government
- (August 8, 2014) Another NYC Sikh Injured in Hate Attack: 2nd Attack in 2 Weeks; Sikh Coalition Urges Witnesses to Step Forward
- (August 5, 2014) Rally This Morning: Sikh Father Hit by Truck, Dragged 30 Feet in Hate Crime
- (August 4, 2014) Press Conference: NYC Sikh Father Hit by Truck, Dragged 30 Feet in Possible Hate Crime
- (July 17, 2014)Sikh Coalition Files FOIA Request for NSA and FBI ‘Raghead’ Documents
- (April 2, 2014) Interfaith Coalition to Pentagon: New Religion Guidelines Still Discriminate
- (March 13, 2014) Groundbreaking National Report on Severe Bullying of Sikh American School Children Released Today in US Congress
- (March 10, 2014) 105 Members of Congress Urge Defense Secretary to End Sikh Service Ban
- (January 29, 2014) Sikhs Press Pentagon to Improve New Religious Accommodation Guidelines
- (January 22, 2014) Sikh Coalition Responds to Amended DOD Religious Guidelines
- (September 21, 2013) "Get Osama" Yelled in Attack on Sikh Columbia University Professor, Victim to Speak at Press Conference
- (May 31, 2013) Decorated Sikh Soldier Presses For End to Ban on Sikh Military Service
- (August 5, 2012) Sikh Coalition Responds To Tragic Shooting in Wisconsinn
- (August 6, 2012) Second Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
- (August 6, 2012) Third Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
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- (August 8, 2012) Sixth Press Release Issued After the Shooting in Wisconsin
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About the Sikh Coalition
The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. In particular, we work towards a world where Sikhs may freely practice and enjoy their faith while fostering strong relations with their local community wherever they may be.
We pursue our mission by:
- Providing direct legal services to persons whose civil or human rights are violated;
- Advocating for law and policies that are respectful of fundamental rights;
- Promoting appreciation for diversity through education; and
- Fostering civic engagement in order to promote local community empowerment
With a full-time staff of 12 and offices in New York City, Fremont, CA and Washington D.C., we are the most-staffed Sikh organization in the history of the United States.
Photos and videos of the Sikh Coalition's work.
- Introduction to Sikhi
- Style Guide and Glossary
- Common Misconceptions Regarding Sikhism
- Sikh Image in the Media
- 2008 - 2009 Press Releases