Sikh policeman awarded 10,000 pounds in turban case
London, Oct. 03, 2009
A Sikh policeman has been awarded 10,000 pounds by a British
tribunal after he complained his religious sentiments were hurt
by an order to remove his turban during riot-training.
Gurmeal Singh, a police constable in the force serving Greater
Manchester in northwest England, was awarded the compensation
by an employment tribunal after a three-week hearing Friday.
Singh, who joined Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in 2004, sued
the force, alleging that a sergeant told him during a meeting
to discuss the riot training: "Can you not take that thing
off ? this is what you signed up for."
He was also asked whether he could modify his turban.
Singh, 31, said he suffered panic attacks, stress and palpitations
and was off sick over the issue during the long-running dispute.
The tribunal rejected most of his allegations but upheld a claim
of indirect racial and religious discrimination, after he was
included on a group email Feb 8 last year, telling officers that
riot training was mandatory and he would therefore have to remove
Two months later he had an "unpleasant" meeting with
his sergeant and went off sick the next day - the panel ruled
the meeting amounted to harassment.
After the ruling Singh, who is still employed by GMP on 'recuperative
duties', said: "I'm looking to return to work and see how
GMP accommodate me."
Julia Rogers, GMP's assistant chief officer, said: "We felt
we acted in the officer's best interests, but accept the findings
from this tribunal and have already updated the policies this
She said the force would be working with the newly formed British
Police Sikh Association in an effort to resolve any ongoing issues.