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Haqq v. Department of Correctional Services (Defending right of public employees to adhere to religious beliefs while at work)

The issues in this case are the right of public employees to adhere to their religious beliefs while working and the obligation of the government to reasonably accommodate its employees’ religious beliefs. For many years, Abdul Samad N. Haqq was an employee of the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS). Because he was a devout Muslim, Haqq would wear a kufi while at work. Despite the fact that the kufi held enormous religious significance to Haqq, and had no effect whatsoever on his work, DOCS banned him from wearing the kufi.

On October 5, 2006, the NYCLU filed a complaint in District Court on behalf of Haqq. The complaint alleged that DOCS actions were in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Article 1, Section 3 of the New York State Constitution. The NYCLU asked the court to issue a declaratory judgment and an injunction requiring the defendants to allow Haqq to wear the kufi. On May 3, 2007, both parties reached a settlement. DOCS agreed to allow Haqq to wear a kufi while on duty at the work facility and also agreed to pay Haqq’s attorney fees. 

S.D.N.Y, Index No. 07-cv-2243 (direct) 

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