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This Community Voice may be read online at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/COMVCE-10-05-2006-01.htm

Community Voice

10th May 2006

27 Vaisaakh (Samvat 538 Nanakshahi)


Bakersfield, CA –A United States postal worker, who was initially told by his employer that he would not be allowed to wear his Turban, has been allowed to wear it after proof was provided that the Turban is a mandatory Sikh article of faith.

Dhanwant Singh, 39, approached UNITED SIKHS, after his manager, Beverly Hill, prohibited him from wearing Turban at work because it was not part of the dress code for a postal worker. UNITED SIKHS wrote to the Postmaster that wearing the Turban was a mandatory Sikh article of faith, highlighting its importance not only as religious attire, but also its importance to the identity of Sikhs. UNITED SIKHS argued that by refusing Dhanwant Singh’s right to wear his Turban, the Postal Service was violating fundamental, constitutional laws.

UNITED STATES Postman Dhanwant Singh

Under US Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, as documented under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, religious discrimination by employers is prohibited.

Shortly after receiving the letter, a meeting was held by the Postmaster of Bakersfield, California, Mike Bettes, and a statement was issued allowing Dhanwant Singh to wear his Turban to work. UNITED SIKHS subsequently wrote a letter of thanks (click here) to the postmaster for recognising a Sikh’s right to wear his Turban at all times. A request is also being pursued for the postal service to provide education on Sikhism to fellow employees and UNITED SIKHS has called for the Government to provide diversity training to its federal and state agencies, such as the FBI.

Dhanwant Singh was extremely pleased by the outcome. He said, "UNITED SIKHS’ prompt response has helped me to deal with my predicament.”

Dhanwant Singh began to wear his turban after Hardeep Singh Aulakh, president of the Sikh Children Forum, encouraged him during a turban campaign to wear his turban to work. Dhanwant Singh is very pleased that despite the initial difficulty he will be able to fulfil his desire to wear a turban to work.

This case highlights a challenge which is not only faced by Sikhs facing a Turban ban in France. If you or anyone you know has been discriminated against in the school, university or workplace, please contact UNITED SIKHS at contact@unitedsikhs.org or call 1-888-243-1690 for assistance.

To read a previous Press Release on UNITED SIKHS' advocacy for the Right To Turban in France please click http://unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-10-04-2006-00.htm

Issued by:
Manwinder Singh
International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy Directorate

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