Several media outlets have covered recent news of a settlement between the New York City Transit Authority and the United States Department of Justice. The New York Times reports:
Muslim and Sikh transit workers will be allowed to wear religious head coverings while on the job under a settlement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Wednesday. The agreement ended a winding legal case propelled by the Sept. 11 attacks.
The authority faced a series of lawsuits, including one from the United States Justice Department, in the years that followed the attack; the suits claimed that the authority was selectively enforcing policies on head coverings worn by Muslim and Sikh employees and that it had transferred workers to nonpublic positions if they refused to remove the coverings or attach the authority’s logos to them.
Under the new policy, any religious headgear will be permitted as long as it is blue, the color of the authority’s logo, said Adam Lisberg, the authority’s chief spokesman.
In a statement, the Justice Department said the authority would pay a total of $184,500 to eight current or former employees who had been “denied religious accommodations” under the old policy.
The U.S. sued the transit agency in 2004, alleging that it violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by enforcing its policies on uniforms to target Muslims, Sikhs and other employees whose religious beliefs require they wear head coverings, according to a document filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, today. The agency runs the city’s subways and buses.
The settlement contains “no finding of fault or liability,” the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the agency, said in a statement. The new uniform policy will allow station agents and bus and train operators to wear turbans, headscarves and other headwear in the agency’s standard blue color that don’t bear its official logo.
While employees may now wear religious head coverings without the Metropolitan Transit Authority logo on them, they must still be the blue color of the MTA uniforms, as noted by the Huffington Post.