Although federal and state laws prohibit religious discrimination in the workplace, employers sometimes do not follow the law. As a result, Sikh Americans remain vulnerable to employment discrimination and unequal access to employment. Some organizations refuse to accommodate turbans and beards in deference to “corporate image” policies based on stereotypes about what Americans should look like, or sometimes do provide the accommodation and then segregate Sikh employees to remain out of view. Others refuse to accommodate Sikh articles of faith because of uninformed or false claims about “health and safety” that fail to account for new technology and developments in protective equipment, or a misinterpretation of the applicable laws. Employers who engage in discrimination often prey on individuals without the financial resources to file a lawsuit, and employees run the risk of a hostile or retaliatory work environment if they do not receive adequate guidance on how to proceed.
The Sikh Coalition is a leader in the fight against employment discrimination and encourages Sikh Americans everywhere to stand up for their workplace rights. In the United States, hiring decisions should be made solely on merit, not on the basis of bias against legally protected criteria such as religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Sikh Americans are flourishing in diverse careers throughout the nation, and employers who continue to discriminate against Sikhs will be sued and defeated in court.
"The Sikh Coalition’s work to help Sikhs facing employment discrimination helps protect all of our rights."
Jagtar Anandpuri (JB Hunt client)
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Over the years, the Sikh Coalition has successfully sued multiple organizations that engaged in religious discrimination against Sikh Americans, including government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Apart from saving the livelihoods of our clients, our lawsuits deter employers from discriminating against Sikhs and others in the future and create a level playing field where all Americans, regardless of their religion, have an equal opportunity to pursue any career they choose.