May 25, 2017 (Bay Area, CA) – The Sikh Coalition is pleased to announce that two devout Sikh parents have received an apology from Kaiser Permanente along with a system-wide religious accommodation to wear their kirpans after being barred from entering an emergency care facility in Northern California.
In October 2016, Ms. Jasjot Kaur Sidhu and Mr. Gurlaljit Singh drove to a Kaiser facility for emergency care related to her pregnancy. Both of them were wearing kirpans outside their clothing. When the couple arrived, Kaiser security barred them from entering, despite Gurlajit detailing their previous visits wearing the kirpans and explaining its religious significance. Even still, security told them to “get out, get out,” and a doctor told the couple that Jasjot could not receive treatment without first removing her kirpan. Gurlaljit called a police officer, who explained the religious significance to Kaiser officials to no avail.
After six excruciating hours, Jasjot was allowed inside the facility by herself with security standing outside her treatment room. After the traumatic ordeal, the couple contacted the Sikh Coalition’s legal team.
Partnering with the Sikh Coalition, Jasjot and Gurlajit successfully received an apology and secured a system-wide religious accommodation to wear their kirpans. Additionally, thanks to the courage and persistence of the couple, Kaiser has committed to reviewing its policies and procedures on religious accommodations and implementing an internal plan to ensure that all Sikh Kaiser members “have a positive care experience without fear or challenges.”
“Without the Sikh Coalition to protect our rights we know that securing a permanent kirpan accommodation would have been a very challenging task. We deeply appreciate the legal support and guidance.”
Jasjot Kaur Sidhu and Gurlaljit Singh
Know Your Kirpan Rights
To learn more about legal rights related to the kirpan and its religious significance, please read and share the following documents:
If you require legal assistance related to your practice of Sikhi, including wearing a kirpan, please contact the Sikh Coalition’s legal team by filling out our request legal help form.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.