Pols Stand With Sikhs Against MTA’s Forced Branding of Turbans


On Tuesday several city councilmembers signed a letter of protest against an MTA policy that requires Sikh workers to have the MTA logo sewn into their turbans.

In 2005 the council filed but never enacted a bill that would prevent city agencies from making employees “comply with a uniform code that would require such person to violate or forego a practice of his or her creed or religion.” Around that time few lawsuits on that subject sprang up; later they were combined, and that suit is still pending in a Brooklyn court.

Opponents of the policy argue that city workers often wind up wearing non-logo-identified clothing on the job (for example, says PunjabNewsline “MTA-issued Russian-style winter hats without a logo”), which seems to prove that the MTA doesn’t really need to defile the turbans religiously required of Sikhs with an identifying patch.

City councilmembers John Liu, Tony Avella, Robert Jackson, Simcha Felder, Charles Barron, and David Weprin appeared at a City Hall press conference to denounce the MTA’s policy as discriminatory, anti-diversity, etc.

In 2006 the MTA issued a pamphlet explaining the policy to workers, and illustrated it with a photo of one of the employees who sued them over it, which can’t have helped to ease tensions between the two sides.