N.J. appeals court upholds firing over Muslim head covering

Linda Tisby was fired from her job as a corrections officer at the Camden County jail in 2015 after refusing to remove her khimar

Linda Tisby was fired from her job as a corrections officer at the Camden County jail in 2015 after refusing to remove her khimar

A Muslim woman who claims she was discriminated against due to her religion has lost another court battle in South Jersey.

Linda Tisby was fired from her job as a corrections officer at the Camden County jail in 2015 after refusing to remove her khimar, a traditional Muslim head covering.

This week, a New Jersey appeals court upheld the earlier dismissal of her discrimination case.

It agreed with the trial court that allowing Tisby to wear the khimar would have placed an undue burden on the correctional facility because of safety concerns as well as violating long-established grooming standards at the jail.

Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen said that religious head coverings can be used to smuggle contraband into into correctional facilities.

“This has been a significant issue in places in New Jersey, in some North Jersey facilities in particular,” said Keashen. “Anytime there’s the possibility that something could be used for concealment, we want to eliminate it.”

But Kevin Costello, one of Tisby’s attorneys, claimed that wearing a religious garment to work is protected under the state’s Law Against Discrimination.

“It’s a very small garment. And she’s wearing the smallest version of it she can get away with,” said Costello. “Our contention is … that it’s is not an undue burden on her employer to allow her to wear it.”

Tisby’s plans to appeal the ruling.

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