Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Washington company changed its policy to allow Sikh woman head covering

An academic testing company changed its policy to allow head coverings in their facilities after a complaint was filed by a Sikh woman. In October, Jagjit Kaur went to a Pearson VUE testing facility in Austin, Texax, to complete her Oriental Medicine Licensure exam. Upon arrival, a security guard stopped her from entering the facility. He told her to remove her “hat” for her own protection. Kaur told the guard that she was not wearing a “hat,” but rather a mandated religious article of faith, a dastaar (turban) that she could not remove.

Kaur sought help from the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund. SALDEF sent a letter to Pearson VUE’s general counsel’s office informing them of the discriminatory action of the security guard, and recommended necessary steps to remedy this situation quickly.A letter followed to Kaur. The company’s vice president, Anthony Zara, noted: “We take matters such as this very seriously and we regret that you felt humiliated during this incident.”His letter to SALDEF stated: “In response to your letter, Pearson VUE has updated its policy on religious and cultural apparel. Please note that under the revised policy no candidate will be asked to remove any item of religious apparel for inspection.” The policy specifically mentions the Sikh dastaar.

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