Sikhs Hope for AG's Action on Bearded Guard
California's new attorney general acknowledged her Indian heritage by including a 10-minute Indian classical dance performance at her inauguration, but Indian-American advocates are keen to see if Kamala Harris will move on the case of a bearded Sikh man who wants to serve as a prison guard in California, reports Sunita Sohrabji for India West.
Folsom resident Trilochan Singh Oberoi, who used to be a naval officer in India, has been fighting the state since 2005 when he was told he needed to shave his beard in order to work as a prison guard. The California State Personnel Board ruled in Oberoi's favor in 2008 saying the state had made no efforts to accommodate a religious requirement or consider alternatives and asked the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to expedite his application for employment.
But the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group and Oberoi’s lawyer, Harmeet Singh Dhillon, asserted that then-Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office vigorously defended the CDCR, which still did not allow him to work in the state’s prison system. The CDCR maintained Oberoi needed to shave in order to wear a respirator face mask if needed.