WASHINGTON — The federal government has filed a religious discrimination suit to support a former Philadelphia teacher who says she was denied a substitute teaching job because she wore an Islamic headpiece, the Justice Department said today.
The suit accuses the Philadelphia Board of Education and the State of Pennsylvania of barring from public school employment people who wear garb that is related to their religion. The suit says the state is continuing to enforce a 92-year-old section of the Pennsylvania public school code which prohibits wearing religious clothing.
Delores Reardon, a former teacher in the Philadelphia public school system, says she was denied teaching assignments in 1984 because she wore a headpiece, which she believes was required by her Islamic faith.
The government contends that the Pennsylvania state law conflicts with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.