“The evidence obtained during the investigation establishes a violation of the statute…the evidence as a whole indicates that [Gurpreet Singh Kherha] was denied reasonable accommodation for his religion….” EEOC Determination Letter

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(New York, New York) March 17, 2010 – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a decision last week that a Sikh job applicant suffered discrimination by Tri-County Lexus. The EEOC is the federal agency charged with enforcing the nation’s employment discrimination laws. The applicant, Gurpreet Singh Kherha, wanted to work as a sales representative at the Little Falls, New Jersey dealership, but was told to remove his religiously-mandated beard if he wanted the job. Gurpreet was interviewed by Tri-County Lexus in February 2008. After the interview, Gurpreet was told that he was “well-educated” and “well-qualified”, but would not be hired because of a policy prohibiting facial hair. Gurpreet contacted the Sikh Coalition after being denied the job. In cooperation with New Jersey attorney Ravinder Singh Bhalla the Coalition filed both a claim of discrimination with the EEOC in November 2008 and a lawsuit in New Jersey state court last month.

Next Steps

Since the EEOC made a decision in Gurpreet’s favor, the agency will now attempt to negotiate a settlement with Tri-County Lexus on his behalf. If the dealership refuses to settle, the EEOC may file a lawsuit in federal court for Gurpreet. The Coalition will continue to zealously advocate for Gurpreet’s rights, and will continue to pursue both state and federal employment discrimination claims against Tri-County Lexus. As always, the Coalition calls on all Sikhs to stand up for their rights and fearlessly maintain their articles of faith. Know Your Rights

Past Work on This Matter