Federal jury sides with Ariz. jail in dispute over beard
PHOENIX — A federal jury has ruled the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office didn’t discriminate against a Muslim man who claims he lost his job as a jail detention officer over a dispute about his beard.
Sinan Fazlovic claimed the Sheriff’s Office forced him to shave his facial hair in order to keep his job despite repeated pleas for religious accommodation.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office in May 2009.
The suit claimed Fazlovic’s superiors made him shave the beard and then later upheld the decision by saying he would need to be clean shaven for a self-contained breathing apparatus to fit snugly on his face.
Sheriff’s officials argued they were complying with workplace health laws governing face masks authorized for use in jail emergencies.