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Feds say California’s facial hair ban for prison guards amounts to religious discrimination
Religion News Service ^ | March 27, 2024 | AP

Posted on 03/30/2024 12:45:54 AM PDT by Morgana

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The federal government is asking a court to halt California’s enforcement of a rule requiring prison guards to be clean-shaven, saying it amounts to religious discrimination for Sikhs, Muslims and others who wear beards as an expression of their faith.

The civil rights complaint filed Monday by the U.S. Justice Department says the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s prohibition on facial hair denies on-the-job accommodations for officers of various religions.

It seeks a temporary court order “allowing these officers to wear beards while CDCR fully assesses options for providing them with religious accommodations while complying with California safety regulations,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

“Sikhs, Muslims and employees of other minority faiths should not be forced to choose between the practice of their faith and their jobs,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in the statement. “Religious freedom and religious accommodation are bedrock principles of our democracy. We are taking action to ensure that the rights of employees of minority faiths are respected and accommodated in the workplace.”

The corrections department maintains its no-beard rule stems from the need for certain employees, including guards, to wear tight-fitting respirators, with state law requiring that facial hair not interfere with the use of such masks that were worn during the coronavirus pandemic, according to court papers cited by the Sacramento Bee.

In an emailed statement to The Associated Press, the state agency defended its policy.

“CDCR respects all sincerely held religious beliefs and strives to reasonably accommodate individuals seeking religious reasonable accommodations to the extent doing so does not conflict with other legal obligations,” spokesperson Mary Xjimenez said Tuesday.

“Tight-fitting respirator masks are legally required under workplace safety laws for certain functions in state prison operations, as well as for the safety and protection of the incarcerated population and other staff. CDCR is fully compliant with the law, and we are confident the court will agree,” Xjimenez said.

The Justice Department’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, also seeks a court order prohibiting retaliation or discipline against officers requesting to grow or keep beards as the case progresses.

TOPICS: Eastern Religions; Islam; Religion & Politics; Worship
KEYWORDS: california; muslims; sikhs
Besides Muslims and Sikhs there are many Christian sects that the men are required to grow beards however I don't see a lot of Amish trying to get jobs as prison guards.
1 posted on 03/30/2024 12:45:54 AM PDT by Morgana
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To: Morgana

Control the hair and you control the head.
Control the head and you control the body.

Stupid policy to not understand that.

2 posted on 03/30/2024 12:50:38 AM PDT by Jonty30 (A rich man is called a sugar daddy. A poor man is called into HR.)
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To: Jonty30

And neckties are breakaway.

3 posted on 03/30/2024 2:10:41 AM PDT by ryderann
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To: Morgana

The respirator argument is silly...just say its unfair to WOMEN, many of who cannot grow beards.

4 posted on 03/30/2024 2:34:15 AM PDT by Adder (End fascism...defeat all Democrats.)
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To: Morgana

Women can have beards....

5 posted on 03/30/2024 2:41:57 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Adder

>The respirator argument is silly...<

As a pilot, I could not disagree more with you. A poor seal allows toxic fumes into the mask and also renders pressure breathing impossible.

I didn’t know it was a right for everyone to become a prison guard. There are plenty of jobs suitable for facial hair.

Also, certain lipsticks will burst into flame in the presence of pure oxygen, but the feminists shot down that former restriction. It’s their lips.


6 posted on 03/30/2024 3:23:14 AM PDT by Ex-Con777
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To: Ex-Con777

Beards can make great handles in a fight.

Muslim prison guards. What could possibly go wrong????

7 posted on 03/30/2024 6:00:28 AM PDT by metmom (He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus…)
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To: Morgana
A guard whose mask doesn't fit properly because he has a beard is a liability.

Any guard should be able to refuse to serve with any other guard who can't use his assigned equipment properly and that includes the gas mask.

Both prisoners and other guards who are injured in a situation where the guard with the beard succumbed to tear gas or refused to enter a situation because they would succumb to tear gas, should sue the prison system and the guard individually for intentionally failing to meet known standards.

A guard with a beard needs to sign a waiver explicitly stating, "If you succumb to tear gas, we are NOT risking other guards' lives to rescue you." Their deity can save them.

8 posted on 03/30/2024 7:35:27 AM PDT by T.B. Yoits
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