Judge Orders Reinstatement Of Sikh Sacked For Wearing Turban

New York Police Department (NYPD) that sacked a Sikh for refusing to take off his turban while on duty, has been ordered to reinstate him with immediate effect.

Jasjit Singh Jaggi, who was forced to leave his job of writing tickets and directing traffic as a traffic officer, filed a complaint last year with the city Commission on Human Rights, accusing NYPD officials of religious discrimination.

The Sikh further alleged that he was forced to resign because he refused to shave his beard and stop wearing a turban, considered an article of faith in the Sikh religion.

Thirtysix-year-old Jaggi, who has been working at a motel in Vermont, said on Thursday he was looking forward to returning to his NYPD job.

Jasjit Singh Jaggi "proved by a preponderance of evidence that he was discriminated against based on his religious beliefs," Administrative Law Judge Donna Merris wrote in a preliminary ruling.

The Sikh called the decision a "great victory for Sikhs." "It is our identity to have a turban and a beard," he said.

Meanwhile, the police said they still hoped to convince the human rights commission that every traffic officer should wear a white eight-point hat.

The "uniform requirement advances important public interests, including safety of traffic agents as well as the public," an attorney for the city, Eamonn Foley, said in a statement.

The commission did not say when it would issue a final ruling. The judge criticised the NYPD for alleging but failing to show that Jaggi's request to wear a white turban with the department shield on the front would be a burdensome accommodation of his religious beliefs