Sikh policeman wins discrimination case at Manchester employment tribunal
A Sikh policeman told to remove his turban so he could wear a helmet for riot training has won £10,000 compensation from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after an employment tribunal ruled that he had been subject to indirect racial and religious discrimination and harassment.
A practising Sikh, it is against the PC's religion to remove his turban in public or to modify it. The tribunal ruled it was an "offensive violation of dignity" for him to be asked by a sergeant to take it off.
The constable said he suffered panic attacks, stress and palpitations over the issue and was off sick from work.
The Manchester tribunal rejected 13 of his 15 allegations but found he suffered a single case of indirect racial and religious discrimination because the rules on wearing helmets for riot training lacked "clarity".
It also found that he suffered harassment during an "unpleasant" meeting with his sergeant.
The PC was awarded £3,500 compensation for indirect discrimination and £6,500 for harassment. He was also awarded £1,914 payment for loss of earnings.
During the hearing evidence emerged of internal confusion within Greater Manchester Police about policy on turbans. The force employs three Sikh officers out of almost 13,000 staff.
The tribunal said GMP should amend its uniform and equipment policy to accommodate Sikh officers.
GMP's Assistant Chief Officer Julia Rogers said: "We felt we acted in the officer's best interests, but accept the findings from this tribunal and have already updated the policies this relates to."
She said GMP would work with the newly-formed British Police Sikh Association to resolve any ongoing issues of discrimination and harassment.