International Testing Company Apologizes to Sikh American Woman Denied Access due to Turban

January 23, 2007

Source: SALDEF

Washington D.C. - January 23, 2007: The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nations oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization, received a formal letter of apology from Pearson VUE Vice President Anthony Zara in response to an incident of mistreatment of Ms. Jagjit Kaur Khalsa, as she sought to sit for a standardized test at one of Pearson’s facilities.

On October 13, 2006, Ms. Khalsa went to a Pearson VUE testing facility in Austin, TX to complete her Oriental Medicine Licensure exam. Upon arriving at the testing facility, Ms. Khalsa was denied entrance into the exam room by a security guard due to her religiously mandated turban.

The security guard told Ms. Khalsa that the removal of her “hat” was for her own protection and concerned her career. Ms. Khalsa told the guard that she was not wearing a “hat,” but rather a mandated religious article of faith, a dastaar (turban) and that she could not remove it.

SALDEF letter to Pearson VUE’s general counsel informed them of the discriminatory action of the security guard and recommended necessary steps to remedy this situation quickly to Ms. Khalsa’s satisfaction.

In a letter to Ms. Khalsa, Pearson VUE Vice President Anthony Zara noted, “We thank you and your attorney for bringing the matter of October 13, 2006 outlined in your letter to our attention. We take matters such as this very seriously and we regret that you felt humiliated during this incident.”