In 2005, despite meeting all other requirements, Trilochan Singh Oberoi was refused a job as a correctional officer by the State of California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), unless he shaved his beard and removed his turban. The decision of the CDCR was ruled as discriminatory by the State Personnel Board, but the State of California still refused to hire Trilochan Singh. Consequently, Trilochan Singh filed a suit against the CDCR.
Today, it was announced that the State has reached a settlement with Trilochan Singh but will not be changing its policy:
Under the deal made public Thursday, the state will not change its rules requiring most men to be free of facial hair so they can be fitted for gas masks.
But it is paying Trilochan Oberoi (tree-LOH’-chin OH’-bur-roy) $295,000 in damages and giving him a $61,000-a-year job as a manager in the corrections department.
Note that not all men are required to be free of facial hair. This settlement may have been an agreeable compromise to both parties, but it is a failure of principle. The CDCR is still guilty of discriminatory policies against Sikhs, and this must be changed.