This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Emma Jacobs for NewsWorks
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the Philadelphia School District over a grooming policy that it says violates employees’ religious freedom.
The agency filed the Title VII challenge on behalf of a Muslim school police officer who was asked to trim his beard.
The Philadelphia District implemented a grooming policy for school safety officers in 2010 limiting beards to a quarter-inch. The lawsuit says that Siddiq Abu-Bakr, who had been working for the District for two decades, told his supervisor that cutting his beard would violate his religious beliefs.
Abu-Bakr initially filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the suit.