University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States of America v. New York State Department of Correctional Services EE-NY-0196
Docket / Court 1:07-cv-02243-DC ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On March 15, 2007, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, under Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, against the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) . The DOJ sought injunctive relief, ... read more >
On March 15, 2007, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, under Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, against the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) . The DOJ sought injunctive relief, alleging that the defendant had violated Title VII by discriminating against an employee on the basis of religion. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the DOCS discriminated on the basis of religion by failing to reasonably accommodate a Muslim correction officer's religious practice of wearing a kufi (skullcap). DOCS directed the correction officer in May 2005 to stop wearing his kufi while working as a correction officer, even though the officer had worn his kufi for years without incident.

Shortly after suit was filed, the case was settled. On January 18, 2008, the District Court (Judge Denny Chin) approved the parties' Stipulation and Order of Settlement. Under the settlement, DOCS agreed to continue to adhere to its amended religious accommodation policy, which it implemented on March 16, 2007. That policy created an administrative process under which employees could request religious accommodations to workplace policies (grooming and uniform requirements). Each religious accommodation request would be given an individualized assessment and granted unless the request created an undue hardship on the DOCS. By its terms, the Stipulation and Order was to remain in effect until July 1, 2010. The District Court agreed to retain jurisdiction over the case during that period in order to resolve any issues or disputes that arose.

Hyun Jeong Yang - 11/05/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) The State of New York
Plaintiff Description The United States on behalf of employees of New York State Department of Corrections who have religious beliefs that do not permit them to follow the mandatory dress code
Indexed Lawyer Organizations 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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2008 - 2010
Case Closing Year 2010
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)
1:07-cv-02243-DC (S.D.N.Y.) 01/18/2008
EE-NY-0196-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/15/2007
EE-NY-0196-0001.pdf | Detail
Press Release: Justice Department Settles Muslim Corrections Officer Religious Liberty Case 01/18/2008
EE-NY-0196-0002.pdf | Detail
Stipulation and Order of Settlement 01/18/2008
EE-NY-0196-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges Chin, Denny (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0196-0003 | EE-NY-0196-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Garcia, Michael J. (New York)
EE-NY-0196-0003
Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0196-0001 | EE-NY-0196-0001
Torrance, Benjamin H. (New York)
EE-NY-0196-0001 | EE-NY-0196-0003 | EE-NY-0196-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cuomo, Andrew M. (New York)
EE-NY-0196-0003
Schwartz, John Michael (New York)
EE-NY-0196-0003 | EE-NY-0196-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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