Philly judge orders city to accept Muslim firefighter's beard
By MARYCLAIRE DALE
Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Muslim firefighter who refuses to shave
his beard on religious grounds should not be fired while his legal
case unfolds, a city judge ruled in an early test of a state
religious freedom law.
The temporary injunction marks the first application by a judge
of the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act, according to
the lawyer representing firefighter Curtis De Veaux.
Mary Catherine Roper, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer
in Philadelphia who represents De Veaux, said the ruling means her
client must be allowed to work while the case continues.
The Philadelphia Fire Department prohibits beards and mustaches
for safety reasons, saying they can prevent firefighters from
getting a good seal when they wear respirators. Most big-city fire
departments ban facial hair, but some, including the District of
Columbia, have made exceptions, Roper said.
The 25-year-old De Veaux, a practicing Muslim for about five
years, agreed to shave when he joined the department two years ago.
But as his faith deepened, he decided he was no longer willing to
compromise the point, he said.
"My duty to follow my beliefs outweighs my duty to the fire
department," said De Veaux, who also argues that he has a skin
condition that makes it painful to shave. He said that he can get a
proper seal on the type of respirators now used by the city.
De Veaux was suspended without pay Feb. 2 and told he would be
fired a month later if he did not shave. The city agreed to
postpone termination proceedings during the legal challenge, Roper
The state's three-year-old religious freedom law allows people
to challenge laws that interfere with the practice of religion.
They must prove that the state has no compelling reason to apply
them. Similar laws were passed in other states after a federal
religious freedom law was overturned in 1997.
De Veaux, who supports a wife, daughter and younger brother,
said he made about $57,000 a year with overtime at the department
in his first year. The injunction, issued Friday by Common Pleas
Court Judge Joseph Dych, also bars the city from reducing his pay
Anne Barden, a deputy city solicitor handling the case, did not
immediately return a telephone message Wednesday. In court
documents, she said the city has a legitimate need to enforce the
"Allowing a firefighter to wear a beard with a respirator would
create an extremely dangerous condition for the firefighter
himself, his fellow firefighters and the citizens they are sworn to
protect," she wrote in a reply to De Veaux's complaint.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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06-02-2005, 12:16 AM #1
Philly judge orders city to accept Muslim firefighter's beardProudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones
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06-02-2005, 12:24 AM #2
The Amish are allowed to have their beard's. They still are allowed to pack up. Oh and by the way we are all over here: http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=70645
Last edited by tyler101; 06-02-2005 at 12:57 AM.
06-03-2005, 11:02 AM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2003
- Bay City, MI
Another post suffers the ultimate penalty of death from the post police.
06-03-2005, 11:03 AM #4
if it is already being discussed why discuss it again ?
good job tyler !IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
"but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
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