Sikh Policeman Wins £10,000 Award After Turban Row

October 2, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Guardian

A Sikh policeman ordered to remove his turban to do riot training was awarded £10,000 compensation today by an employment tribunal.

PC Gurmeal Singh, who joined Greater Manchester police in 2004, had objected to removing his turban for the course on religious grounds.

After a three-week hearing in Manchester, he was awarded £3,500 for indirect racial and religious discrimination and £6,500 for harassment after suffering psychological damage, injury to feelings and personal injury.

In a meeting with a sergeant to discuss the riot training, he was told: "Can you not take that thing off … this is what you signed up for."

Singh, 31, was also asked whether he could modify his turban. He told the tribunal he feared he would be made to look like a comic character from Only Fools and Horses, where in one episode Del Boy Trotter tries to sell 200 "crash turbans" for fashion-conscious motorbike-riding Sikhs in Peckham – the motorcycle helmets had cloth wrapped around them.