Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Strategic Approach, 4th Edition by Joan E. Pynes
Exercise 3.1: A Muslim Woman ’ s Right to Wear
a Head Scarf at Work
In 2003, Kimberlie Webb, a practicing Muslim and police offi cer since
1995, requested permission from her employer, the Philadelphia Police
Department, to wear a khimar , a form of head scarf extending to the waist,
along with her uniform. The police department denied her request as a
violation of the department ’ s uniform regulation. Philadelphia Department
Directive 78 bars police offi cers in uniform from wearing religious
dress or symbols under all circumstances and makes no medical or secular
Webb fi led a complaint for religious discrimination with the EEOC.
After she fi led her complaint, she appeared at work wearing a khimar on
three separate occasions and was sent home each time. As a result, the
commissioner, himself a Muslim, suspended her for thirteen days. Webb
then amended her charge in 2004, in which she added an allegation of
retaliation. After receiving her right – to- sue letter, Webb fi led her complaint
in October 2005 against the City.
The city admitted it did not offer Webb a reasonable accommodation,
arguing that it would suffer an undue hardship if it were required
to accommodate her. In June 2007, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III
agreed with the city. He ruled that the “ City of Philadelphia has established
compelling non – discriminatory reasons for Directive 78 and has
demonstrated as a matter of law it would suffer an undue hardship if
required to accommodate the wearing [of] a khimar by Ms. Webb while
on duty as a police offi cer. ” The court held that the directive standards
were designed to maintain religious neutrality and promoted the need
for uniformity, but also contributed to cohesiveness, cooperation, and the
esprit de corps of the police force.
1. Do you agree with the city ’ s and the judge ’ s position? State your reasons.
2. If Webb was not a sworn police officer, do you think there would be a problem accommodating her wearing of the khimar ?
3. Should organizations have policies in place in regard to the wearing of religious dress or symbols? If so, what should they be?
Source: Webb v. City of Philadelphia (2007).
Exercise 3.2: States are taking the lead on Family Discrimination Laws
1. Do you support the idea of anti-family responsibilities discrimination? Provide an explanation for your positions. Are there specific topics that you would cover in further legislation
2.What are some specific family-related issues that might arise in the workplace where anti FRD discrimination legislation would be helpful?