iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
The nationwide lawsuit filed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Global Medical Response (GMR), American Medical Response (AMR), and AMR’s subsidiaries was triggered by a discrimination complaint filed by the Sikh Coalition against the arbitrary sacking of a Sikh Paramedic.
The Sikh Coalition is representing Singh along with its co-counsel at Buckley Beal LLP.
Ravinder Singh, employment was terminated in November 2020. The Sikh Coalition has alleged that Singh was wrongfully dismissed from AMR after he requested and was denied personal protective equipment (PPE) that would accommodate his turban and beard. This refusal to provide protective gear came after Singh had used a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) that was provided to him during his paramedic training under AMR staff in September 2020.
Despite the fact that Singh fulfilled all his training requirements, had been hired to work for AMR and had provided AMR with documentation about the Sikh articles of faith and his sincere need for an accommodation, AMR insisted upon Singh using an N95 mask as opposed to any other kind of PPE. Ultimately, Mr. Singh was dismissed from his position in violation of his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
“In the early days of the pandemic, when I was training with AMR, I was eager to use my medical and emergency preparedness knowledge to help others,” said Singh. “It was extremely difficult to be turned away from that work because of my faith — but now, I am able to be of service with appropriate and effective PPE in my new position. Ultimately, I’m supporting this legal action because no qualified professional should ever be forced to sit at home when they could be out saving lives.”
“Like every other employer in the United States, AMR has a simple and clear obligation to keep its employees safe while they perform their jobs,” added Giselle Klapper, senior staff attorney of Sikh Coalition. “We know that paramedics like Singh are capable of performing their work with a PAPR and that AMR is capable of providing such equipment. Why any company would turn away a qualified paramedic and violate their civil rights in the middle of a global pandemic is beyond comprehension.”
The Sikh Coalition is a community-based organization that works towards the realization of civil and human rights for all people. The Coalition serves as a resource on Sikhs and Sikh concerns for governments, organizations, and individuals.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sikh Coalition has led the way in ensuring that Sikh healthcare employees are able to access and use PPE that functions properly with their articles of faith. “We have provided guidance on requesting accommodations, submitted policy recommendations and testimony to government agencies, taken on individual legal cases like that of Singh, and also secured and distributed donated PAPRs to individuals in need,” said the Sikh Coalition.
The Sikh Coalition expects this case to move forward in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado in the weeks ahead.