Dear Supporter Ji,
One month ago, our client Sawinder Singh was able to settle a multi-year workplace discrimination dispute against Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), one of the largest school districts in the country employing approximately 24,000 people. Dating back to 2006, Sawinder routinely endured racial and religious harassment from colleagues and students in regards to his turban and beard. When he finally hit his limit in turning the other cheek, Sawinder came to us seeking help in 2016.
After three years and hundreds of hours of free legal support, we were able to help him navigate a successful resolution with his employer that will now better protect thousands of employees from future discrimination. In the months that follow, we plan to conduct Sikh Awareness trainings and work with MCPS on updating their Implicit and Explicit Bias trainings to not only educate and expand many MCPS staff members’ world views, but to also hold employers accountable in protecting all of their employees from incidents of bias-based hostility, harassment, bigotry and racism. Make no mistake - the impact of this is significant.
Sawinder’s case is one of the rare Sikh Coalition cases that you get to hear about. Every year, we work on over 200 cases dealing with issues of employment discrimination, hate crimes, school bullying, racial profiling and religious rights. Most of the time, we resolve cases without publicity, because it’s in the best interests of both the client and the law. And yet, regardless of whether we decide to go public with a case, we continue to fight for Sikhs in and out of the courtroom and provide all of our legal cases the highest quality of service.
We are here to protect and defend your rights to practice your faith freely. If you or someone you know has experienced hate, school bullying, discrimination or profiling based on your Sikh identity, our legal team - lawyers and staff who are dedicated to preserving your civil rights - is available to provide you with a completely confidential and free consultation.
The Sikh Coalition
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From: Sikh Coalition
Date: Tue, May 28, 2019 at 11:00 AM
Subject: Fateh! Sikh Improves Employment Policies For 24,000 Co-workers
Fateh! Sikh Improves Employment Policies For 24,000 Co-workers
Mr. Singh was hired as a bus driver by Montgomery County Public School District (MCPS) in 2006. He routinely endured racial and religious harassment in the workplace by students, colleagues and supervisors. The harassment included calling Mr. Singh, who wears a turban and maintains an unshorn beard, “Osama bin Laden,” “al Qaeda,” and the “Taliban,” while also subjecting him to relentless teasing about his Sikh religious articles of faith. In one instance, after the news announcement of bin Laden’s death, a former colleague said, “How did they let you back in the country? Osama bin Laden was killed.”
Mr. Singh endured the harassment at MCPS - at times without complaint - because, as a new immigrant when he was hired, he sought the stability and security of working for a government agency that was close to home. But when the continued harassment became unendurable for Mr. Singh, he contacted the Sikh Coalition for assistance. In 2016, the Sikh Coalition filed a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Mr. Singh’s behalf, and later joined co-counsel Public Justice to resolve his concerns with MCPS’ general counsel.
In May 2019, MCPS and Mr. Singh came to an agreement addressing the issues of harassment he endured. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, MCPS will work with the Sikh Coalition and Public Justice to develop a working group to review and consider changes to MCPS’ current training initiatives, along with staff and student feedback on school and workplace climate, with a goal of improving cultural competencies, including Sikh awareness.
“I am thankful that the Sikh Coalition and Public Justice were there for me,” Mr. Singh said. “Without them, I would still be enduring discrimination in the workplace. Sikhs and other religious minorities will now be much better protected from discrimination throughout the Montgomery County Public School District.”
The successful resolution with MCPS is the latest in a line of high-impact employment discrimination cases that the Sikh Coalition has won over the last 18 years. Recently, these wins include ending employment discrimination against Sikhs at one of the nation’s largest trucking companies and Walt Disney World. This work is also joined by our successful campaign to end employment discrimination in the U.S. Army.
“No Sikh should have to deal with the years of abuse and discrimination that Mr. Singh endured,” said Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur. “Our legal team is here to end this type of discrimination in workplaces nationwide, and this victory is yet another reminder that employers must be held accountable for protecting their employees.”
The Sikh Coalition’s legal team continues to provide free legal aid on over 200 cases per year. If you or someone you know is experiencing employment discrimination, please reach out to the Sikh Coalition for a free consultation to determine the best course of action for you and your situation. The Sikh Coalition has a proven record of defending the civil rights of Sikh Americans, especially in situations of workplace discrimination.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
The Sikh Coalition
50 Broad Street, Suite 504
New York, NY 10004
T 212.655.3095 www.sikhcoalition.org
The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. The Coalition serves as a resource on Sikhs and Sikh concerns for governments, organizations and individuals.
The Sikh Coalition relies on your financial support to sustain its initiatives and broaden its services. In addition to supporting the Sikh Coalition directly, we encourage you to use matching donation programs offered by many employers. The Sikh Coalition is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. Thank you for your support.