The Sikh Coalition represents Dr. Jaswinder Pal
Singh, an observant Sikh who maintains unshorn
hair, including a beard, and wears a turban. Dr.
Singh filed suit alleging that in 2014 he
applied for and was denied a position as a
neurologist at a Tennessee medical group after
the employer and recruiter inquired into his
The suit alleges that as part of the hiring
process, the employer, Premier Medical Group,
P.C., and its recruiter, Arthur Marshall, Inc.,
expressed concern about Dr. Singh’s appearance.
Although in initial interviews the recruiter
extolled Dr. Singh’s credentials, Dr. Singh was
ultimately denied the position after he
submitted photographs of himself, along with
information on Sikhs and Sikhism.
The practice of requesting photographs in the
hiring process is widely disapproved of by
employment law experts and human resources
professionals alike, as it opens the door to
discrimination based on protected traits like
race, color, national origin and religion.
The Sikh Coalition represented Dr. Singh in
filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in
2015. After the EEOC issued a right to sue
notice, we partnered with Tennessee-based
employment lawyer Douglas B. Janney III, to file
an anti-discrimination lawsuit against the
employer, Premier Medical Group, and its
recruiter, Arthur Marshall, on behalf of Dr.
Dr. Singh filed a lawsuit against Premier
Medical Group and Arthur Marshall in federal
court in Nashville, Tennessee on December 27,
2016. The case is pending.
We hope to secure a court order requiring that
both defendants implement anti-discrimination
policies, practices and training to ensure that
they do not discriminate against any future
applicants. Our aim in filing this lawsuit is to
achieve legal precedent underscoring that
employers and recruiters may not discriminate on
the basis of religious, ethnic or racial
appearance in hiring, may not ask about an
applicant’s appearance during the hiring
process, and may not solicit or accept photos
during the hiring process.
WHY IT MATTERS
Although federal law prohibits discrimination on
the basis of protected traits in the hiring
process, employers and recruiters may attempt to
skirt the law by requesting or accepting
photographs from applicants. Such practices
adversely impact Sikhs, as well as other
religious, ethnic and racial minorities. Our aim
is to set positive precedent that employers and
recruiters cannot engage in this form of hiring
discrimination against Sikhs and other