by Emma Jacobs for NewsWorks
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the Philadelphia School District over a grooming policy that it says violates employees' religious freedom.
The agency filed the Title VII challenge on behalf of a Muslim school police officer who was asked to trim his beard.
The Philadelphia District implemented a grooming policy for school safety officers in 2010 limiting beards to a quarter-inch. The lawsuit says that Siddiq Abu-Bakr, who had been working for the District for two decades, told his supervisor that cutting his beard would violate his religious beliefs.
Abu-Bakr initially filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the suit.