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Bill Bars Workplace Bias Against Sikhs

Permits Beards, Religious Garments

During a press conference in Richmond Hill on Sunday, Aug. 12, Assemblyman David Weprin called for tougher anti-discrimination measures to protect workers against discrimination based on religious dress at the workplace.

Assemblyman David Weprin, along with State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblywoman Grace Meng and City Council Speaker Peter Koo joined members of the Sikh Cultural Society at a press conference outside the Richmond Hill location on Sunday, Aug. 12 calling for the passage of a bill to allow individuals to wear religious garments on the job.

He announced the introduction of a bill (A.6170-A), which aims to protect the rights of employees to wear religious garments such as turbans and maintain beards while on the job.

Members of the New York City Sikh community have urged lawmakers to move on the legislation, particularly in the aftermath of the shootings in the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. on Aug. 5.

“An individual should never have to choose between their place of employment and their religious observance,” said Weprin during the press conferece at the Sikh Cultural Society in Richmond Hill. He was joined by Assemblywoman Grace Meng, State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, and City Council Member Peter Koo.

“The founding fathers of this country provided freedom of religion as one of the fundamental rights. Discriminatory practices that differentiate individuals based on belief, color or creed denies individuals of their constitutionally protected rights. This bill would codify the principal that all people should be allowed to practice their religious beliefs without fear of reprisal from their place of employment,” said Harpreet Toor, coordinator of external affairs of the Sikh Cultural Society.

The bill is still pending in the Assembly.

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