Facial hair flap reignites after D.C. fireplace department reinstates beard ban

Religiously observant D.C. firefighters and paramedics requested a federal district court docket Monday to throw out a 2020 city policy restricting facial hair, a circulation they are saying violates a judicial ruling that blocks the Fire and Emergency Scientific Products and companies Division from prohibiting beards.

“The District of Columbia has already been ordered by the court docket to provide protection to the non secular liberty rights of paramedics and firefighters, and namely, to enable our purchasers to serve their beards while on accountability,” First Liberty Institute senior counsel Jordan Pratt, who represents the FEMS workers, acknowledged in a press liberate. “The District is evidently violating that court docket narrate.  It’s previous time for the District to expend the law and the court docket.”

Firefighters and paramedics Steven Chasin, Calvert Potter, Jasper Sterling and Hassan Umrani allege the department stands in “blatant violation” of a 2007 eternal injunction settling an earlier lawsuit filed by the men over the policy. 

The four “are longtime firefighters and paramedics who, years ago, successfully brought suit to enjoin an illegal department policy that largely prohibited District firefighters and paramedics from asserting facial hair,” the enchantment noted. The doc acknowledged every “wears a beard primarily primarily based on the tenets of his Muslim or Jewish faith.”

The four had been removed from “field accountability” in March 2020 for refusing orders to shave, which they acknowledged violated the 2007 injunction moreover to the federal Non secular Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Clinton. They are saying they had been not allowed to reach to field positions till the pause of 2021, higher than 18 months later.

Amongst varied arguments, the fireplace department has maintained that beards would possibly prevent an exact seal on obvious kinds of self-contained breathing apparatus, even supposing the department has conceded that most of those gadgets can work on beard-wearers.

“This resolution to ignore a binding court docket narrate is merely basically the most contemporary step in the department’s multi-decade marketing and marketing campaign to compel District firefighters and paramedics to evolve to the department’s handsome-shave prefer, without regard for his or her non secular liberties,” the criticism acknowledged.

The four are looking out out for a discovering of civil contempt towards FEMS moreover to “appropriate compensatory damages” for his or her elimination from field accountability.

A FEMS spokeswoman referred The Washington Times to the District’s Command of enterprise of Attorney Standard, which did not straight away acknowledge to a ask for comment.

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