WASHINGTON, D.C. -- District of Columbia Attorney General Peter Nickles says the city will continue the legal battle over beards in the DC Fire & EMS Department. On Friday, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled against the District and affirmed a 2007 ruling by a federal judge in favor of the firefighters and medics. Friday's opinion hinged on a procedural matter.
Nickles tells 9NEWS NOW the safety issue is too important to let this case be decided on a technicality. He has directed his staff to petition for a hearing before the entire court.
Those suing the city have claimed shaving violates their religious beliefs.
The firefighters and medics have been allowed to perform their duties since the 2007 ruling as long as they are able to pass regular tests proving they can keep a proper seal of their mask. Most of the plaintiffs have been allowed to return to active duty.
Paramedic Steve Chasin, who has contended this is a grooming issue and not about safety, says he is not surprised by the city's decision and wonders how much the city will continue to spend on this battle.
Peter Nickles cites expert testimony and federal regulations as the need to keep the safety standard set by the DC Fire & EMS Department.
Republished with permission of WUSA-TV.