The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that an Internal Revenue
Service agent – Kawaljeet Tagore – may be able to bring a
religious discrimination claim under the Religious Freedom Restoration
Act (RFRA) against the government after she was fired for bringing a kirpah
– a religious sword – to work. According to reports, the woman
was fired after she converted to the Sikh religion and started wearing
the weapon to work.
Federal law bans bringing dangerous weapons into federal facilities. However
Tagore requested an exception to the law based on religious freedom.
If you have questions about religious discrimination or believe that you
have been discriminated against because of your faith, you should consult
with a dedicated
Georgia employment discrimination attorneyright away.
Title VII prohibits religious discrimination–that means your employer
may not discriminate against you “because of” your religious
beliefs. This also prohibits harassment based on your religious beliefs
as well as retaliation against you for complaining about religious discrimination
or for participating in someone else’s religious discrimination case.
The religious discrimination laws have three separate protections:
• Your employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate your religious
beliefs and practices in the workplace;
• Your employer may not impose its religious views on you or permit
your co-employees to impose their religious views on you; and • Your
employer may not take adverse action against you (including harassment)
because of your religious beliefs.
Similarly, the RFRA applies to federal workers and provides that “Government
shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even
if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” The
only exceptions include where the law furthers a compelling government
interest and does it in the least restrictive way.
In this instance, the Court of Appeals determined that the lower court
made a mistake by categorically denying Tagore the opportunity to exercise
her freedom of religion and allowing her to wear the weapon. The 5th Circuit
Court noted that RFRA “requires the government to explain how [banning
wearing a kirpah] furthers the compelling governmental interest.”
The lower court made an error by not specifically determining whether
the government had a compelling interest in enforcing the statutory ban
on weapons against Tagore. As a result, the case should be allowed to continue.
For more information about religious discrimination please contact the top
Georgia discrimination attorneysat The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.