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PHILADELPHIA—Imperial Security Inc. has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a federal religious discrimination lawsuit involving a Muslim employee's religious head covering, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Monday.
The EEOC said Julie Holloway-Russell had worn a khimar—a cloth that covers her hair, ears and neck, as required by her religious beliefs—when she interviewed for a job as a security guard at the Philadelphia-based firm in November 2009. However, she was told to remove the khimar when she reported to her first work assignment. After she refused to do so, she was terminated, said EEOC regional attorney Debra Lawrence.
The EEOC said in its statement that in addition to the $50,000 settlement, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit prohibits Imperial Security from further discriminating based on religion or engaging in unlawful retaliation.
A company spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Charges filed with the EEOC by Muslims outweigh those filed by individuals of other identified religious groups.
Discrimination claims filed by Muslims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were increasing before controversy erupted over a planned Islamic community center blocks from New York's ground zero.