I am taking the time to personally write to you share a historic opportunity with you and request your participation.
On this Thursday, June 30, at 10:00 a.m. the New York City Council will introduce a bill called the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA). The Sikh Coalition will be testifying at the hearing. I write to ask that you attend this hearing in-person on Thursday at 10:00 a.m., 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, before the City Council Civil Rights Committee.
What is WRFA and Why Should I Take Time out of My Schedule Attend this City Council Hearing?
As you know Sikhs suffer high levels of employment discrimination because of their Sikh identity. Many are told to shave their beards; others are told to remove their turbans; some are told to leave their kirpans at home. Here in the city, Sikhs are still not allowed in the NYPD unless they remove their Dastaars and the Sikhs who work for the MTA are required to brand their Dastaars with the MTA's logo though the MTA does not impose a similar requirement on any other class of employee who wears a hate.
Under current city law, employers are required to make 'reasonable accommodations' for the religious practices of their employees. Employers can bypass this requirement by showing that such accommodations would impose a minimal difficulty or expense on the employer's business. WRFA would still allow employers to deny religious accommodations, but only by proving that such accommodations would constitute a significant difficulty or expense.
If enacted, WRFA would make it harder in each of these cases for city employers to discriminate against Sikhs. Once enacted in New York City, it is our hope to have WRFA enacted in other cities, states, and even nationally.
Your Participation Matters
In politics, numbers matter. Showing Sikhs at the hearing is an effective way of demonstrating our community's support for the bill. It really makes a difference.
Please consider joining us. The hearing is this Thursday, June 30th at 10:00 a.m., 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, before the City Council Civil Rights Committee.
Thank you for considering my request.
Amardeep Singh, Esq.
Director of Programs
The Sikh Coalition