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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States of America v. New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority EE-NY-0195
Docket / Court 04-CV-4237 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On September 30, 2004, the United States Department of Justice (D.O.J.) filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (Title VII) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Transit ... read more >
On September 30, 2004, the United States Department of Justice (D.O.J.) filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (Title VII) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Transit Authority. The D.O.J. asked the court for injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants had violated Title VII by discriminating against Muslim and Sikh employees because of their religion. Muslim and Sikh individuals are required by their religion to wear head coverings.

The defendants demanded that Muslim and Sikh employees remove their head coverings or cover them with an employer issued hat. The uniform policy provided that employer-issued hats were optional or that non-employer issued hats were prohibited. When the Muslim and Sikh employees refused to cover or remove their head coverings, they were transferred to assignments with no passenger contact.

The complaint alleges that the defendants discriminated because of religion by (1) selectively enforcing uniform policies regarding employer issued hats to target Muslim and Sikh employees who are required by their religion to wear head coverings; (2) taking adverse employment action against Muslim and Sikh employees because of their religious obligation to wear head coverings; (3) failing or refusing to reasonably accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs; and (4) failing or refusing to take appropriate action to remedy the discriminatory effects of the policies and practices.

This case has been consolidated with five other lawsuits filed by individual employees of the defendants alleging discrimination because of religion. Those cases are: (1) Small v. New York City Transit Authority (1:03-cv-02139), (2) Muhammad v. New York City Transit Authority (1:04-cv-02294), (3) Lewis v. New York City Transit Authority (1:04-cv-02331), (4) Harrington v. Reuter (1:05-cv-03341), and (5) Singh v. New York City Transit Authority (1:05-cv-05477). The individual employees in each of these cases are Sikh or Muslim and allege discrimination because of their refusal to cover their religious head coverings with an employer issued hat, remove their religious head coverings, or emblazon their religious head coverings with the employer logo. The plaintiffs in Small, Muhammad, and Lewis are Muslim women further allege discrimination because of gender. (The defendants permitted Muslim men to wear their religious head coverings uncovered and un-emblazoned.)

The parties engaged in protracted discovery disputes, but on May 30, 2012 entered into a settlement agreement. Under it, the MTA will permit any religious headgear, so long as it is blue, and that it will pay $184,500 to eight current or former employees who had been denied religious accommodations under the old policy.

- 06/02/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Transportation
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New York City Transit Authority
New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Plaintiff Description United States and individual employees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:04-cv-02294 (E.D.N.Y.) 08/03/2007
EE-NY-0195-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:03-cv-02139 (E.D.N.Y.) 08/03/2007
EE-NY-0195-9002.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:04-cv-02331 (E.D.N.Y.) 08/03/2007
EE-NY-0195-9003.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:05-cv-03341 (E.D.N.Y.) 08/07/2007
EE-NY-0195-9004.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:05-cv-05477 (E.D.N.Y.) 08/07/2007
EE-NY-0195-9005.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:04-CV-04237 (E.D.N.Y.) 08/09/2007
EE-NY-0195-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:05−cv−05477 (E.D.N.Y.) 06/01/2012
EE-NY-0195-9006.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 05/02/2003
EE-NY-0195-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 06/03/2004
EE-NY-0195-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 06/07/2004
EE-NY-0195-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 09/30/2004
EE-NY-0195-0001.pdf | Detail
Complaint 07/15/2005
EE-NY-0195-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 11/16/2005
EE-NY-0195-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [re. discovery motion] 01/12/2006 (2006 WL 708672 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 59536) (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0195-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Order 05/09/2006 (2006 WL 1307935) (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0195-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [re. discovery motion] 12/29/2006 (2006 WL 3833120 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 93920) (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0195-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Order [re. discovery motion] 06/22/2007 (2007 WL 1827519 / 2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 45474) (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0195-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Judges Go, Marilyn D. (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000 | EE-NY-0195-9001 | EE-NY-0195-9002 | EE-NY-0195-9003 | EE-NY-0195-9004 | EE-NY-0195-9005
Townes, Sandra L. (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0195-9000 | EE-NY-0195-9001 | EE-NY-0195-9002 | EE-NY-0195-9003 | EE-NY-0195-9004 | EE-NY-0195-9005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0001
Ashcroft, John (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0001
Bhalla, Ravinder S. (New Jersey)
EE-NY-0195-0004 | EE-NY-0195-0005 | EE-NY-0195-9004 | EE-NY-0195-9005 | EE-NY-0195-9006
Bhalla, Amardeep Singh (New York)
EE-NY-0195-9004 | EE-NY-0195-9005 | EE-NY-0195-9006
Cox, Reid Alan (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000
Embrey, Diana L. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0001 | EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000
Gadzichowski, John M. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0001
Hack, Ally (New York)
EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000 | EE-NY-0195-9003
Hart, Lonnie Jr. (New York)
EE-NY-0195-0003 | EE-NY-0195-0007 | EE-NY-0195-9002
Lopez, Louis (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0001 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-9000
Mohammedi, Omar T. (New York)
EE-NY-0195-0006 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000 | EE-NY-0195-9003
Palmer, David J. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0001 | EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000
Quintanilla, Victor D (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000
Rao, Sonya A (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000
Scott, Armani B. (New York)
EE-NY-0195-0003 | EE-NY-0195-0007 | EE-NY-0195-9001 | EE-NY-0195-9002
Speck, Elizabeth A. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-9000
Zafar, Shaarik H. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0195-0001 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bhatt, Kavita K. (New York)
EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000 | EE-NY-0195-9005 | EE-NY-0195-9006
Levy, Victor Mitchell (New York)
EE-NY-0195-9005 | EE-NY-0195-9006
Moll, Rhonda J. (New York)
EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000 | EE-NY-0195-9003
Schoolman, Richard (New York)
EE-NY-0195-0009 | EE-NY-0195-0010 | EE-NY-0195-0011 | EE-NY-0195-0012 | EE-NY-0195-9000 | EE-NY-0195-9001 | EE-NY-0195-9002 | EE-NY-0195-9003 | EE-NY-0195-9004 | EE-NY-0195-9005 | EE-NY-0195-9006
Other Lawyers None on record

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