On April 7, 2009, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that a female Muslim police officer was not entitled to wear a religious headscarf while on duty. Officer Kimberlie Webb of the Philadelphia Police Department was appealing the ruling of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejecting her assertions of religious and sex discrimination. The appellate court held that despite having established a prima facie case of religious discrimination, Webb's claim failed because it would unduly burden the city's interest in "maintaining the Philadelphia Police Department uniform as a symbol of neutral government authority, free from expressions of personal religion, bent or bias." The court refused to examine the sex discrimination allegation because Webb failed to submit a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prior to filing the claim in federal court as required by law.
Learn more about laws regulating Muslim head coverings from the JURIST news archive.