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Firefighters Lose ADA Lawsuit Over Beards

Salik Bey, Terrel Joseph, Steven Seymour, and Clyde Phillips (the Firefighters) are Black men who were or still are firefighters with the New York City Fire Department. Each of them suffers from a skin condition called Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB), which results in persistent irritation and pain following shaving. The effects of shaving with PFB can range from mild or moderate (such as skin irritation, bruising, and boils) to severe…

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Shifts, Seniority, And Religious Accommodations

Clinton Bloomfield was conditionally hired as a Newark police officer on July 31, 2017. Bloomfield’s employment was contingent upon his successful completion of training at the New Jersey State Police Academy. Bloomfield’s description of his religious beliefs is that he practices Judaism and is a member of The Church of God and Saints of Christ. The tenets of his religion do not permit him to work on the religion’s…

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Q & A

From Arizona:Question: I was wondering if you had any case law specific to masks and religion or anything you could point me to that predates the pandemic? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Answer: I’m unaware of any cases on masks and religion. From analogous cases, I can predict how such a case would likely come out. There are a number of religious discrimination cases involving grooming (e.g., hair…

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Firefighter Fired For Refusing Vaccination, Accommodation

Brett Horvath was employed as a driver/pump operator by the City of Leander Fire Department in Texas. Horvath is an ordained Baptist minister and objects to vaccinations as a tenet of his religion. In 2014, two years after he was hired, the Department adopted an infection control plan that directed fire department personnel to receive flu vaccines. Horvath sought an exemption from the directive on religious grounds, and the…

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Reporting To Work On Time Essential To Firefighter’s Job

Darrell Hartwell worked as a firefighter/EMT for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City for more than 16 years, until he was fired by Chief James Elston. For his entire career at the Department, Hartwell had trouble getting to work on time. The firefighters at NSA Panama City worked alternating 24-hour shifts starting at 7:00 AM. According to Chief Elston, Hartwell was late “almost every shift.” Until 2011, however, Hartwell…

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Employer Reasonably Accommodated Beliefs Of Muslim Corrections Officer

Ashfaq Chaudhry is a Sunni Muslim and a correctional officer employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), which has at all times been aware of Chaudhry’s religious beliefs. Sunni Muslims perform five prayers each day: before sunrise; between noon and 2:00 p.m.; an hour before sunset; right after sunset; and between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. The prayers last about five minutes. Chaudhry routinely offers these…

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