Lifestyle & Belief

New York transit agency changes religious headwear rule


People ride the New York City subway into Manhattan on Sept. 9, 2011.


Spencer Platt

NEW YORK -- New York City’s transit system will end its rule requiring Sikh and Muslim employees who work in the public view to attach a Metropolitan Transportation Authority logo to their turbans, headscarves or other religious head-coverings, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

As part of a settlement to a 2004 lawsuit, New York City’s subway operators, bus drivers, conductors and station agents will now be permitted to wear religious headwear that is the same blue color as their uniforms, Reuters reported.

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The lawsuit was filed against the transit authority by the US Department of Justice on behalf of Sikh and Muslim employees who said they were disciplined and forced to work less-desirable jobs out of the public eye when they refused to comply with the rule following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

While transit officials argued they were stepping up enforcement of the agency’s uniform policy across the board, the plaintiffs claimed they were targeted as officials sought to allay anti-Muslim fears, Reuters reported.

The settlement contains “no finding of fault or liability,” according to the transit agency, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

In addition to the rule change, the eight Sikh and Muslim workers who filed employment discrimination claims will get monetary compensation totaling at least $184,500, Reuters reported.

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