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Court Blocks Policy Requiring Clean-Shaven Correctional Officers

The United States scored a victory in a battle over facial-hair religious exemptions for California correctional officers, as the feds seek to stop the state from enforcing a clean-shaven policy, Courthouse News reports. U.S. District Judge Daniel Calabretta on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction against the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation policy. Under the ruling, the agency must stop disciplining or threatening to discipline peace officers who asked to wear beards for religious reasons and must tell officers they can’t face disciplinary measures for having facial hair.

The case stems from a March complaint filed in federal court over the agency's rule. That rule forces officers who have beards because of religious beliefs to choose between their job or religion, because the corrections department's current respirators don't fit properly over a beard. But in a 37-page order, Judge Calabretta said the department could not avoid the federal government’s case for failure to accommodate.



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