#camden, #nj— An appeals court #wednesdayupheld the firing of a Camden County corrections officer who said her #muslimbeliefs required her to wear a head covering on duty.
Linda Tisby, a 13-year employee at the county jail, contended her dismissal in #may2015 violated her rights under the state's Law Against Discrimination. Tisby, who was fired after adopting the #sunniMuslim }faith , said county officials had failed to accommodate her "sincere #religiousbeliefs." But a three-judge panel supported two Superior Court rulings against Tisby, saying the county had shown Tisby's head covering — known as a #khimaror #hijab— would impose an undue hardship on the jail. It said that circumstance created an exception to the #state #law, allowing Tisby's termination. "We do not minimize the religious significance of the khimar for the #womenwho wear them," the ruling said. "We recognize a compelling sense of religious obligation in the decision to wear a khimar." The panel agreed with a trial judge who found the jail's ban on #khimarswas justified "because of overriding safety concerns, the potential for concealment of contraband and the importance of uniform neutrality." County officials were pleased with the ruling, said spokesman Dan Keashen. "Our No. 1 priority is to ensure the safety of the employees and the inmates in the institution," he said. "We #believe, and the court was clear in its ruling, that this case would have compromised the health and welfare of all who work and live in the facility.” Deborah Mains, a Mount Laurel attorney for Tisby, could not be reached for immediate comment.
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that advocates for #muslims' civil rights, expressed concern. "It's in our interest to make sure a negative precedent like this doesn't stand," said Ibrahim Hooper at the group's #washington, #dc, headquarters. "Usually we find if there's good will on all sides, some kind of accommodation can be reached," said Hooper, who noted the New York City Police Department recently eased its dress code to allow #turbansfor #sikhofficers. CONTINUE READING ⬇⬇⬇