Former Bakersfield Prison Guard Suing DOC Over Alleged Religious Discrimination

According to KERO-TV, a Bakersfield man is suing his past employer, claiming that he was harassed for a religious practice.

The station reported that Solomon Stanley, who started working for the Department of Corrections in 1991 as a prison guard and joined the Rastafarian religion, practices his faith by growing out his dreadlocks and beard. The hair reportedly gives followers of the religion a spiritual ideology and a commitment to practice.

“Stanley loyally followed this practice starting in 2001 and did not face any problems at work. But he says his employer started shelling in the complaints after a while and asked him to cut and shave off his hair,” KERO reported. “While the department argued this was standard procedure, Stanley claims it was harassment on him and his religious beliefs and refused to adhere by their rules.”

Stanley was reportedly given a religious exemption allowing him to keep his dreadlocks and beard, but continued to face harassment, particularly among new hires. He said that he was called names and was constantly pressured to cut his hair.

According to KERO, in 2010 the abuse became so awful to Stanley’s emotional health that he received a medical discharge. He is now seeking $1 million for lost wages and health damages that caused him emotional distress.

I Have Been Discriminated Against At Work Because Of My Religion

California has numerous protections against religious discrimination in the work place. Discrimination can include:

  • Jokes and slurs
  • Scheduling important or job-sensitive meetings during prayer times or religious observances
  • Forcing an employee to participate in a religious activity
  • Punishing an employee for not participating in a religious activity

If any form of employment discrimination, such as religious discrimination, has affected you, contact our office today to schedule a consultation by calling (310) 273-3180.

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys