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Judge Rules NYPD Discriminated Against Hasidic Recruit In Trim Beard Case

Posted by on Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:50 PM
  • 59 Replies

New York, NY - Judge Rules NYPD Discriminated Against Hasidic Recruit In Trim Beard Case

Federal court’s ruling may clear the way for the reinstatement of the Police Academy cadet from Monsey, who was fired over the length of his facial hair.

A rookie Hasidic cop fired by the NYPD for refusing to trim his beard was the victim of religious discrimination, a federal judge said Friday.

The decision appears to pave the way for Fishel Litzman’s reinstatement.


“I want people to know that you can follow your dreams and never have to compromise your religion,” Litzman, 39, told the Daily News outside his home in Monsey. “That’s what makes this county so great.”

Litzman was fired in June 2012, a month shy of graduating from the Police Academy. He said he got booted because he refused to adhere to department standards limiting beards to no more than 1 millimeter in length.

His lawyer, Nathan Lewin, filed suit on his behalf, arguing that the city came up with an “after-the-fact rationalization” by saying facial hair would prevent him wearing a gas mask with a proper fit. The city at the time said Litzman would put himself and others at risk if he needed to wear the mask in an emergency.

 But Federal Judge Harold Baer Friday upheld Litzman’s constitutional claim, criticized police and told his attorney to submit within 10 days a “proposed order.”

“We’re going to ask that he be reinstated,” said Lewin, a legal heavyweight who has fought and won beard battles on behalf of observant Jews with the Army and Air Force. “We hope this is the beginning of the end of the (NYPD’s) refusal to grant full religious accommodations to applicants who may not, for religious reasons, trim their beards.”

The NYPD said it’s reviewing Baer’s decision. A spokeswoman for the Law Department said, “We respectfully disagree with the court and are considering our options.”

Baer, in his decision, agreed that the NYPD would suffer an “undue hardship” if every officer wasn’t capable of wearing a gas mask that seals tightly against the face, without facial hair interference. But he also noted that the NYPD could not provide documentation that the 1-millimeter restriction is an official rule. The NYPD failed to enforce the restriction against cops not granted an exemption, such as undercover officers, he added.

Litzman, a father of five, who has been working as a paramedic since getting canned, says his goal since that day has remained the same.

“The primary objective was always to get back into the academy and do what I always dreamed of doing,” he said.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hasidic-nypd-recruit-victim-bias-judge-article-1.1518890#ixzz2ksKSxAI2

by on Nov. 16, 2013 at 11:50 PM
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Replies (1-10):
romalove
by Roma on Nov. 17, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?

collectivecow
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 9:47 AM
1 mom liked this

This is actually a really good question. Let me do a little research and see if I can come up with anything - there may be stipulations where it's considered acceptable.

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?


collectivecow
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Found this:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety.
The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?


romalove
by Roma on Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM


Quoting collectivecow:

Found this:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety.
The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?


What if he has to arrest a woman?

What happens if he wants to be an undercover detective?

I can see lots of different areas that being a cop would be in conflict with being an observant religious Jew.

katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM
1 mom liked this
I was thinking that as well. I would not want his religion to interfere with his wishes, but at the same time I wouldn't take a job that I know would conflict with my faith and then call discrimination when I am fired for not fulfilling obligations because of conflictions that I knew would come up.

Quoting romalove:


Quoting collectivecow:

Found this:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety.
The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?


What if he has to arrest a woman?

What happens if he wants to be an undercover detective?

I can see lots of different areas that being a cop would be in conflict with being an observant religious Jew.

collectivecow
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM


Quoting romalove:
Quoting collectivecow:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety. The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?

What if he has to arrest a woman?

What happens if he wants to be an undercover detective?

I can see lots of different areas that being a cop would be in conflict with being an observant religious Jew.

Police work is included in the exemption: When people are arrested, it's generally because they are disobeying the law, so it falls under this category (safety). As an EMT, he has to do similar work with people.

If he wants to do undercover work, then that may be a different story, but again, nothing states that you need to implicitly touch women in order to do so.


collectivecow
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:57 PM

They fired him because of a made-up on the spot ruling regarding his beard that didn't exist in any of the information the Police force had to begin with.

In Judaism, there are exemptions for health/safety concerns. I'm pretty sure he would have looked this information up beforehand and decided that it was still possible to work on the Police force without it obstructing his duty.

Quoting katzmeow726:
I was thinking that as well. I would not want his religion to interfere with his wishes, but at the same time I wouldn't take a job that I know would conflict with my faith and then call discrimination when I am fired for not fulfilling obligations because of conflictions that I knew would come up.
Quoting romalove:
Quoting collectivecow:

Found this:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety.
The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?

What if he has to arrest a woman?

What happens if he wants to be an undercover detective?

I can see lots of different areas that being a cop would be in conflict with being an observant religious Jew.



katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 12:59 PM

*shrug* I do agree that the firing was fishy, but at the same time I still feel that you should not go into a job that knowingly will conflict with your beliefs to the point it could impact your duties. 

Quoting collectivecow:

They fired him because of a made-up on the spot ruling regarding his beard that didn't exist in any of the information the Police force had to begin with.

In Judaism, there are exemptions for health/safety concerns; I'm pretty sure he would have looked this information up beforehand and decided that it was still possible to work on the Police force without it obstructing his duty.

Quoting katzmeow726:
I was thinking that as well. I would not want his religion to interfere with his wishes, but at the same time I wouldn't take a job that I know would conflict with my faith and then call discrimination when I am fired for not fulfilling obligations because of conflictions that I knew would come up.
Quoting romalove:
Quoting collectivecow:

Found this:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety.
The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?

What if he has to arrest a woman?

What happens if he wants to be an undercover detective?

I can see lots of different areas that being a cop would be in conflict with being an observant religious Jew.



collectivecow
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

How does it conflict? There was no millimeter-length-rule to begin with in reality.

Quoting katzmeow726:

*shrug* I do agree that the firing was fishy, but at the same time I still feel that you should not go into a job that knowingly will conflict with your beliefs to the point it could impact your duties. 

Quoting collectivecow:

They fired him because of a made-up on the spot ruling regarding his beard that didn't exist in any of the information the Police force had to begin with.

In Judaism, there are exemptions for health/safety concerns; I'm pretty sure he would have looked this information up beforehand and decided that it was still possible to work on the Police force without it obstructing his duty.

Quoting katzmeow726:
I was thinking that as well. I would not want his religion to interfere with his wishes, but at the same time I wouldn't take a job that I know would conflict with my faith and then call discrimination when I am fired for not fulfilling obligations because of conflictions that I knew would come up.
Quoting romalove:
Quoting collectivecow:

Found this:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety.
The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?

What if he has to arrest a woman?

What happens if he wants to be an undercover detective?

I can see lots of different areas that being a cop would be in conflict with being an observant religious Jew.



katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I'm not referring to just the facial hair....

Quoting collectivecow:

How does it conflict? There was no millimeter-length-rule to begin with in reality.

Quoting katzmeow726:

*shrug* I do agree that the firing was fishy, but at the same time I still feel that you should not go into a job that knowingly will conflict with your beliefs to the point it could impact your duties. 

Quoting collectivecow:

They fired him because of a made-up on the spot ruling regarding his beard that didn't exist in any of the information the Police force had to begin with.

In Judaism, there are exemptions for health/safety concerns; I'm pretty sure he would have looked this information up beforehand and decided that it was still possible to work on the Police force without it obstructing his duty.

Quoting katzmeow726:
I was thinking that as well. I would not want his religion to interfere with his wishes, but at the same time I wouldn't take a job that I know would conflict with my faith and then call discrimination when I am fired for not fulfilling obligations because of conflictions that I knew would come up.
Quoting romalove:
Quoting collectivecow:

Found this:

Police, Fire Departments and Hatzalah (Jewish EMTS); along with Doctors are allowed to bypass the commandment in terms of health/safety.
The policy here is that the door is left open, if in an enclosed area.

"The prohibition of Yichud (seclusion) is waived in the face of danger to life. Therefore a woman in mortal danger may be treated by a male doctor even if they are in a secluded situation and vice versa.

If a Jewish male member of one of the emergency services (Police, Fire Department, ambulance or Hatzalah) is called upon to take care of a woman, he should leave the front door open upon entering the house."

Quoting romalove:

Interesting.  I can think of other conflicts that would occur with his religion.  How would he handle having to touch women, for instance, should that be necessary?

What if he has to arrest a woman?

What happens if he wants to be an undercover detective?

I can see lots of different areas that being a cop would be in conflict with being an observant religious Jew.



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