Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Don't Have to Make This Stuff Up

TaxProfBlog summarizes a story from webCPA:

An IRS (employee) has sued the IRS for firing her after she insisted on wearing a ceremonial knife on the job.

The agent (name omitted here) filed suit against the IRS for discharging her in July 2006. She is a religious Sikh who wears a knife known as a kirpan. The blunt knife is kept in a curved sheath at her side. (She) initially began wearing a 9-inch knife when she was formally initiated into the Sikh faith in April 2005. The religion requires adherents to wear five sacred articles of clothing.

After her supervisor objected, she switched it for a 6-inch kirpan with a blunt 3-inch blade. According to her lawsuit, the blade never set off the metal detectors in the Leland Building in Houston, and was not able to inflict bodily harm. However, her supervisor pointed out that federal law prohibits people from carrying blades longer than 2.5 inches in government buildings.

"She was always able to go through the metal detector, and it never beeped," said Harsimran Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition, which is helping represent (her). ... (She) refused to bring an even shorter knife with her to work, however. "It is a signifier of justice and it reminds the Sikh in particular to protect the weak," said Kaur.

After the disagreement with her supervisor, (she) was permitted to work from home for nine months, but when her supervisor ordered her back to work with a shorter blade, she brought the same kirpan with her. Security officers barred her from the building, and she was fired shortly thereafter.

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