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NRI Sikh Trilochan Singh Oberoi wins $295,000 for job denial


San Francisco. Oct 27, 2011

Indian-American Sikh wins $295,000 for job denial

Washington, Oct 28, 2011: An Indian-American Sikh has won a six-year fight to be hired as a state correctional officer without having to shave off his beard as a condition of employment and $295,000 in damages.

Trilochan Singh Oberoi applied for a job with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2005 and progressed through the hiring process until the final stages, when he was required to be fitted for a tight-fitting respirator mask, according to his lawyer.

Oberoi, who maintains a full beard mandated by his religion, was told he would have to shave the beard off to take the test.

The dispute led to a series of bureaucratic and legal fights that culminated earlier this month in a settlement agreement that will allow Oberoi to begin work Nov 1, his San Francisco attorney, Harmeet K. Dhillon, said in a news release.

The settlement also calls for the state to pay $295,000 to Oberoi and his attorney, Dhillon said.

Fighting the case has generated more than $500,000 in legal costs to Oberoi, most of which were donated, Dhillon said....IANS//










Trilochan S. Oberoi served 26 years in India's Navy and 10 years in the Merchant Marines before immigrating to CA in 2001. During his years of service, his beard never impeded his ability to use a gasmask.

When Mr. Oberoi applied to work as a correctional officer, CDCR told him that he must appear clean-shaven in order to take a gasmask fit test. According to the agency, correctional officers cannot wear gasmasks properly unless they are clean-shaven. When Mr. Oberoi refused, CDCR denied him the position. In an effort to safeguard his rights, Mr. Oberoi responded by first filing a complaint with California's State Personnel Board (SPB) and then contacting the Sikh Coalition.