New York’s mass transit system will allow Muslim and Sikh employees to don religious headgear after a settlement of a federal lawsuit on Wednesday.
The lawsuit, filed on the basis of discrimination, allegedly began in the aftermath of September 11 attacks in 2001. The Metropolitan Transport Authority required all employees of Sikh or Muslim faiths to either wear an MTA corporate logo or stay out of public view.
Due to the lawsuit victory, employees now simply have to wear their respective religious headgear in MTA’s standard color - blue.
Although MTA states that its rules were “never animated by religious or ethnic bias” and were “reasonable,” employees felt that they were to some extent, influenced by fear:
"The MTA honored me for driving my train in reverse away from the towers on 9/11 and leading passengers to safety. They called me a 'hero of 9/11.' I didn't have a corporate logo on my turban on 9/11." said Sikh train operator and plaintiff Sat Hari Singh.
The Sikh Coalition announced its legal victory, declaring, "Sikh and Muslim workers may now wear their religious headdress freely—as they were allowed to do so before 9/11—without fear of segregation or discipline."