Neurologist Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit With Medical Group

Dr. Jaswinder Pal Singh

A Tennessee-based medical group has settled a discrimination lawsuit filed against them late last year by a Sikh-American neurologist who claimed his job interview with the prospective employer violated his rights.

Neurologist Dr. Jaswinder Pal Singh had sued Tennessee-based Premier Medical Group, charging it with discrimination during the hiring process by asking about his turban and beard, symbols of his Sikh religion. According to a statement from the Sikh Coalition, Premier has agreed to work with the nonprofit to improve its employment hiring policy.

As part of the agreement, Premier has committed to strengthening its equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies and retain an EEO consultant to provide anti-discrimination training for staff engaging in recruitment, interviews and hiring, according to an advisory from the group said.

The coalition did not disclose other settlement terms or say whether Premier Medical Group hired Singh.

"I want to thank the Sikh Coalition for protecting my rights and working to ensure that religious appearance is never a factor in the job application process," Singh said.

The complaint filed on Dec. 27, 2016 alleges that as part of the hiring process, the Tennessee-based medical group and its recruiter expressed concern about Singh's appearance. Although in initial interviews the recruiter extolled Singh's credentials, he was ultimately denied the position after he submitted photographs of himself, along with information on Sikhs and Sikhism.

The Sikh Coalition said that although federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of protected traits in the hiring process, employers and recruiters may attempt to skirt the law by requesting or accepting photographs from applicants.

The coalition said such practices adversely impact Sikhs, as well as other religious, ethnic and racial minorities.

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