A Muslim man recently filed a lawsuit against his former employer after he was fired for refusing to shave his beard.
The man had been working for a California-based security company as a guard since May 2009. He alleges that, upon being hiring, no one informed him that he would need to shave his beard. The man keeps his beard, which is part of his Islamic faith, closely trimmed.
However, after six months of working for the company, a supervisor told the plaintiff he was required to shave. He then informed his superior that he was religiously obligated to keep his beard and continued working until April 2010. At that point, he met with another supervisor regarding unpaid wages, when she told he needed to shave his beard. He again referred to his faith and the issue subsided.
The plaintiff then contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which receives a number of calls regarding similar issues. According to The Seattle Times, most companies will change their stance after receiving letters from this agency. However, the plaintiff's employer never responded to the letter and informed the man he could not work at the company until he shaved.
The lawsuit seeks compensations for 65 hours of unpaid work and emotional and general damages.
The case highlights the importance of companies recognizing and adhering to industry regulations and general acceptable business practices involving employees. Failing to do so can lead to expensive professional liability lawsuits.