On June 22, 2016, BLH attorneys successfully obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the NYPD from immediately suspending without pay or benefits a Muslim NYPD officer for refusing to shave his beard.
BLH filed a class action lawsuit seeking judgment declaring the NYPD’s “no beard” policy to be in violation of the United States Constitution, the New York State Constitution, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the New York City Human Rights Law.
The class representative, Masood Syed, a 10-year veteran of the NYPD and a practicing Sunni Muslim, had requested a modest accommodation to wear his beard at approximately 1-inch. On June 21, 2016, Mr. Syed was suspended for 30-days without pay.
At a TRO hearing on June 22, 2016, Judge P. Kevin Castel explained that he was “troubled” that Defendants could not provide Mr. Syed with a reason as to why they could not accommodate his request.
Judge Castel ordered that, pending the determination of a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, the Defendants were “restrained, enjoined, and stayed from taking any action adversely to affect Plaintiff Syed’s compensation and/or benefits as a Police Officer."
See Class Action Complaint here.
Jonathan C. Moore
New York Law Journal
New York Times