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Amardeep Singh, Co-Founder/Program Director, The Sikh Coalition


Religion-based protection for workers in New York
......New York City Mayor has signed

New York, Sep 3, 2011: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed into law a bill initiated by the Sikh Coalition to significantly enhance religion-based protections for employees working in the metropolis.

"Today's law is a major step forward in ensuring Sikhs and other religious minorities are not unfairly excluded from jobs for which they are otherwise qualified," said Amardeep Singh, programme director and co-founder of the community advocacy group.

Called the "Workplace Religious Freedom Act", the new law would change the legal standard by which courts review claims of religious workplace discrimination by public and private city employees.

Under previous city law, employers are required to make "reasonable accommodations" for the religious practices of their employees.

However, employers can bypass this requirement by showing that such accommodations would impose a minimal difficulty or expense on the employer's business.

The new law will still allow employers to deny religious accommodations, but only by proving that such accommodations
would constitute a "significant difficulty or expense," the Sikh Coalition said.

The current law does not allow Sikhs to work for the New York City Police Department unless they remove their turbans, the Coalition said.

Similarly, Sikh and Muslim workers who currently work for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) are forced to brand their religious headwear with an MTA logo.

While the new law does not force either the MTA or NYPD to accept Sikhs with their full articles of faith, it creates a legal framework within city law that makes it very difficult to continue to exclude them from city jobs, the coalition said.

Citing a research report issued by it in 2008, the group alleged one in ten Sikhs in New York City reported suffering discrimination in


The Sikh Coalition: the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States.The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people.

  • Providing direct legal services to persons whose civil or human rights are violated;
  • Advocating for law and policies that are respectful of fundamental rights;
  • Promoting appreciation for diversity through education; and
  • Fostering civic engagement in order to promote local community empowerment


Amardeep Singh

  • Amardeep Singh is the co-founder and Program Director of the Sikh Coalition
  • He serves as its Director of Programs where he oversees the Coalition’s use of litigation, advocacy, community organizing, and strategic communications to advance social justice goals.
  • He is continuing to work closely with Department of Homeland Security officials, he has also helped shape guidelines governing the searches of Sikh passengers in U.S. airports.
  • He has represented the Sikh community during meetings with the United States Attorney General, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary of Transportation, and the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • He worked as a Researcher in the U.S. Program of Human Rights Watch (HRW). While at HRW, he authored the report, We Are Not the Enemy: Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims, and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim after September 11.




Amardeep Singh

Amardeep Singh is the co-founder and Program Director of the Sikh Coalition



  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave away $279.2 million to philanthropic causes last year, earning him the #2 spot on the list of Americans who gave the most to charity in 2010, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
  • Forbes reported Michael Bloomberg's wealth at $16 billion, a gain of $4.5 billion over the previous year, enjoying the world's biggest increase in wealth in 2009.---net worth of $18.1 billion in 2011