City of New York and NYPD Sued by Orthodox Police Recruit
Fishel Litzman, an Orthodox police recruit, has filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department, the City of New York and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly after he was allegedly discharged for refusing to trim his beard.
New York City police rules say religious recruits can only have one millimeter of facial hair. However, Lewin & Lewin, LLP, the law firm representing Litzman, said the incident constituted religious discrimination.
“Although Mr. Litzman advised the NYPD at the outset of the application process that his religious observance forbade the trimming of his beard, the NYPD swore him in as a Probationary Police Officer and caused him to resign the job he previously held as a paramedic. Since the NYPD permits police officers to grow beards after they graduate from the Police Academy, there is no legitimate governmental purpose in directing him to trim his beard to a length that does not exceed one millimeter while he is in the Police Academy,” the law firm said in a statement.