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USA: Sikh Couple Secures Right To Kirpan At Kaiser Permanente

May 26, 2017 | By

San Francisco:  As reported by Sikh Coalition two devout Sikh parents have received an apology from Kaiser Permanente along with a system-wide religious accommodation to wear their kirpans after being barred from entering an emergency care facility in Northern California.

Sikh Couple Jasjot Kaur and Gurlaljit Singh.

In October 2016, Ms. Jasjot Kaur and Mr. Gurlaljit Singh drove to a Kaiser facility for emergency care related to her pregnancy. Both of them were wearing kirpans outside their clothing. When the couple arrived, Kaiser security barred them from entering, despite Gurlajit detailing their previous visits wearing the kirpans and explaining its religious significance. Even still, security told them to “get out, get out,” and a doctor told the couple that Jasjot could not receive treatment without first removing her kirpan. Gurlaljit called a police officer, who explained the religious significance to Kaiser officials to no avail.

After six excruciating hours, Jasjot Kaur was allowed inside the facility by herself with security standing outside her treatment room. After the traumatic ordeal, the couple contacted the Sikh Rights group’s legal team.

Partnering with the Sikh rights group, Jasjot Kaur and Gurlajit Singh successfully received an apology and secured a system-wide religious accommodation to wear their kirpans. Additionally, thanks to the courage and persistence of the couple, Kaiser has committed to reviewing its policies and procedures on religious accommodations and implementing an internal plan to ensure that all Sikh Kaiser members “have a positive care experience without fear or challenges.”

“Without the Sikh Coalition to protect our rights we know that securing a permanent kirpan accommodation would have been a very challenging task,” said Jasjot Kaur and Gurlaljit Singh. “We deeply appreciate the legal support and guidance”, they added.

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