(photo credit: Reuters)
NEW YORK – It was discriminatory to fire an Orthodox New York City police
officer over the length of his beard, a federal judge ruled.
Litzman, a hassid from Monsey, 56 km. northwest of New York City, was dismissed
last June, a month before he was set to graduate from the police academy, for
refusing to shave his beard down to 1 millimeter in length.
The Jewish Week, Litzman called his dismissal a violation of his religious
rights. He filed a suit earlier this year.
According to the NYPD, longer
beards inhibit the use of a gas mask in an emergency, but Litzman’s lawyer said
this was an “after-the-fact rationalization,” according to the Daily
Judge Harold Baer presided over the case and gave the police 10
days to come up with a proposal for moving forward.
“I want people to
know that you can follow your dreams and never have to compromise your
religion,” Litzman told the Daily News
after his win on Friday, saying that this
is what makes America great.